Board of Directors.
Hawai‘i Island Community Coordinator (CTFH/HEAL)
(808) 591-6508 ext. 14
Sally has been the East Hawai‘i Coalition Coordinator since September 2010. She holds a B.A. from the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. Sally previously worked for the American Lung Association as the Hawai‘i Island Program Coordinator and brings a wealth of experience in tobacco prevention and control, as well as history with her local Coalition.
Hawai‘i Farm to School Hui Coordinator
(808) 591-6508 ext. 17
Lydi has over a decade of experience building school garden programs and growing Hawaii’s farm to school movement. In 2014, she became the founding Coordinator of the Hawai‘i Farm to School Hui. Prior to her role as Hui Coordinator, Lydi served as Garden Education Coordinator with the Kōkua Hawai‘i Foundation where she was the lead author of the ʻĀINA In Schools garden and compost curricula and led trainings for several hundred teachers and volunteers annually. She is a certified O‘ahu Master Gardener, Permaculture Designer, and graduate of Hawaii’s Agricultural Leadership Program. Lydi was raised in Honolulu, graduated from Punahou School, and earned her B.A. in Biology at Amherst College in Massachusetts.
Food Systems Outreach and Engagement Specialist
(808) 591-6508 ext. 21
Kayla Carlisle is working to expand HIPHI’s food systems work. Kayla was first an intern at HIPHI in the summer of 2020, and worked on policy research and infographic designs. Kayla has experience as a Public Health Research and Project Manager, and is a recent graduate of Duke University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Policy. Kayla moved to Hawaiʻi after spending a semester here on an exchange program, knowing she wanted to come back.
Coalition Coordinator, Maui Coalition for Drug-Free Youth
(808) 591-6508 ext. 23
Ashlee received her Master’s in Social Work from Portland State University. Ashlee has over 10 years of experience in social work, public health, community organizing, prevention work, coalition building, and youth engagement. Since 2016, she has worked with local community organizations in Hawaiʻi. Formed in 2013, the MCDFY, now fiscally managed by HIPHI, is a local community coalition of partner organizations and individuals committed to reducing underage alcohol use and youth substance use in Maui County. Ashlee is a community-driven individual who works on community prevention through policy change.
Director, Maui Coalition for Drug-Free Youth
(808) 591-6508 ext. 22
Rick Collins is a Cincinnati, Ohio native who has lived and worked in Hawaiʻi since 2003. He currently serves as the Director of the Maui Coalition for Drug-Free Youth. Rick’s career passion is in creating responsible drug and alcohol policies that keep youth safe and drug-free. He enjoys playing hockey, is a father of two and husband to one, and partakes in as many outdoor activities as time allows. Rick has an M.S. in Counseling Psychology from Chaminade University and a B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Dayton. He is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Certified Prevention Specialist.
May Rose Dela Cruz, DrPH
Director of Health Equity and Research
(808) 591-6508 ext. 32
May Rose joined HIPHI on October 1, 2021, to lead the coordination of internal and external plans that increase awareness of health disparities, invite collaboration, and promote local efforts to support structures and processes that build health equity. Her previous roles included Assistant Researcher, UH Office of Public Health Studies, and Co-Director, ’Imi Hale Native Hawaiian Cancer Network, Papa Ola Lōkahi. She received her BA in Psychology, MPH in Social & Behavioral Health Science, and DrPH in Community-Based & Translational Research from UH Mānoa. She enjoys baking cupcakes and cookies but balances it out by growing her own veggies with her family.
West Hawaiʻi Community Coordinator (CTFH/HEAL)
(808) 591-6508 ext. 15
Lisa brings diverse experience with marketing, community networking, local food production and distribution, as well as a background in the coordination of food donations and waste programs with volunteers. Lisa also has an educational background in film and video production which she leverages to assist her in outreach and promotion, focusing on environmental and public health awareness issues.
Statewide Oral Health Coalition Manager
(808) 591-6508 ext. 27
Patrick has more than a decade of experience in the non-profit sector working with Hawai‘i Island’s most vulnerable residents, specializing in community health services and program development. Prior to joining HIPHI, Patrick developed a passion for oral health through his work as a Health Specialist in Early Head Start/Head Start. Patrick has a B.S. in Public Health – Health Promotion and Health Behavior from Oregon State University and carries an ongoing desire to learn, grow, and serve his community.
Amanda Fernandes, JD
Policy & Advocacy Director
(808) 591-6508 ext. 6
Amanda Fernandes is the Policy and Advocacy Director at Hawai‘i Public Health Institute, where she oversees legislative initiatives affecting public health at the state and local level. She works closely with community stakeholders, other nonprofit organizations, elected officials, and government agencies to create a healthier Hawai‘i through policy change. She leads the affiliate’s lobbying efforts throughout the state. Amanda earned her B.A. in political science from California State University Long Beach, and her JD from Georgetown University Law Center.
Roella Foronda, MPH
(808) 591-6508 ext. 5
Roella has more than a decade of experience with program and contract management, philanthropy, grant development and administration, budget management and community relations through her work at the Hawai‘i Community Foundation. She was part of the oversight and management team for the Hawai‘i Tobacco Prevention and Control Trust Fund, serving as a liaison with grantees, partners and stakeholders. She received her undergraduate degree in Health Science from San Francisco State University in 2000 and her Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa in 2011.
Kirsty Gallaher, MS
(808) 591-6508 ext. 4
Kirsty has a scientific background but focused her career where she believes she can have the greatest impact: connecting diverse groups of people with organizations doing compelling work. Motivated by innovative ways to broaden the reach and impact of social good projects, she builds understanding around complex topics in the public health sector, blending scientific and creative approaches to drive policy change for some of Hawaii’s most pressing challenges.
Statewide Coordinator (Hawaiʻi Alcohol Policy Alliance)
(808) 591-6508 ext. 25
Chelsea graduated from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in Public Health. She was the President of the Breathe Aloha Club (which provides health education and outreach about tobacco issues and policies on campus/statewide), and worked to designate all 10 UH campuses tobacco-free in 2018. Chelsea leads the Hawaiʻi Alcohol Policy Alliance at HIPHI. Formed in 2020, the Coalition is a volunteer-based organization which advocates for research-based, responsible alcohol policies in the best interest of the people of Hawaiʻi, to reduce often overlooked alcohol-related harms in our communities. Chelsea brings advocacy experience and drive to see changes made.
Finance Director (CTFH/ HEAL)
(808) 591-6508 ext. 8
Michelle joined Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai‘i in 2007 and has spent the last 10+ years working in the non-profit sector mainly overseeing the fiscal and accounting departments for various non-profit organizations. She currently serves on the board of directors of PHOCUSED. In her spare time, she can be found biking around Hawai‘i Kai, enjoying Makapuʻu Beach or curled up with a good book.
(808) 591-6508 ext. 19
Lindsey Ilagan coordinates and facilitates the Kūpuna Food Security Coalition, as well as outreach and data management work related to food security / food systems. Lindsey’s role is one of three new positions at HIPHI, to help expand our food systems work. Lindsey has also worked with the Hawaiʻi State Department of Health in the Chronic Disease / Diabetes Prevention, Heart Disease and Stroke Division. She has extensive knowledge in public health, contract management, grant writing, communications, community building and engagement.
Rie Kuhaulua, MPH, PsyD
Research and Development Specialist
(808) 591-6508 ext. 30
Rie has more than a decade of experience serving marginalized communities in Hawaiʻi, the Pacific Islands, and California as a public health and mental health professional. She began her career working with grassroots coalitions to develop cancer and diabetes prevention and education programs. She also worked in community mental health clinics and in-home programs before returning to public health. Rie is researching emerging public health issues, providing technical assistance for research and writing projects, fund development projects, and HIPHI’s internship program.
Mary Leyva, HRM
Maui County Tobacco-Free Coordinator
(808) 591-6508 ext. 13
Mary joined HIPHI in September of 2021 to advocate for a tobacco-free Maui County, working within the community to create awareness about the harm of tobacco use. She has been in the nonprofit sector since 2006, including as community liaison at Partners in Development Foundation, and received her master’s in HRM in 2015. She loves being in nature, running, hiking, and exploring with her family. She’s spontaneous and lives in the moment.
Lauren Loor, MPH, INHC
Maui Community Coordinator (HEAL)
(808) 591-6508 ext. 16
Lauren is originally from New York City and has her M.P.H. from Long Island University in Brooklyn. She has worked with various non-profit organizations such as the New York Common Pantry and The Partnership for a Healthier New York City. Lauren is also a Certified Holistic Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She has been living on Maui for just over a year in the hopes of contributing to wellness on Maui.
Grants and Operations Coordinator
(808) 591-6508 ext. 10
Ananda previously served as an academic program manager at Colorado State University for nearly ten years, where she worked to increase access and success for nontraditional and first-generation students. She has worked and volunteered in the public and nonprofit sectors including with LGBTQ, active transportation advocacy, and affordable housing organizations. She’s excited to continue focusing on social justice, health equity, and supporting vibrant, healthy, sustainable communities as part of the HIPHI team.
Susan Mercado, MD, MPH
Food Systems Director
(808) 591-6508 ext. 20
Susan Mercado (Susy) has diverse experience of over 20 years in public health, welfare services, humanitarian action, teaching, and medicine. She is an M.D. and an M.P.H. and has served as a specialist in international, government, and NGO health organizations, helping to shape policies and program agendas on a global and regional scale. She is a passionate advocate for public health with a focus on prevention and control of noncommunicable disease and risk factors such as tobacco, alcohol, substance abuse, unhealthy diets, and physical inactivity. She has leadership experience in COVID-19 pandemic response, and solid experience in outbreak preparedness, readiness, and response in the Red Cross Movement, especially in the Philippines and Asia-Pacific.
Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator
(808) 591-6508 ext. 7
Jaylen is the Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator at HIPHI, where she helps to support policy efforts at the state and county level and promote smoke-free housing. She originally joined the HIPHI team as the Programs Assistant, and in July 2016 transitioned to her current role as Advocacy ad Outreach Coordinator. Jaylen graduated from Stony Brook University in 2014 with a B.S. in Health Science with a concentration in Public Health/Community Health Education.
Grants, Contracts, Operations Assistant
(808) 591-6508 ext. 28
Maka was born and raised in Hilo on the island of Hawaiʻi. She recently joined HIPHI after earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition and Master’s Degree in Public Administration on Long Island.
Lauren Nelson, M.A.
Maui Food Access Coordinator
(808) 591-6508 ext. 31
Lauren Nelson is the new Maui County Food Access Coordinator. Lauren previously worked as an organic farmer on Maui for two years, and has a background in nutrition and climate change policy, working for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Slow Food Movement. Lauren received her M.A. in Gastronomy from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy. Building on her passion for biocultural diversity conservation, food sovereignty, land rights, and youth empowerment, Lauren hopes to improve the accessibility of healthy food in Maui County while supporting local food producers.
(808) 591-6508 ext. 0
Lia graduated from Hawaiʻi Pacific University in May of 2008 with a B.S.B.A. in Business Marketing and then again in December 2011 with an M.B.A. in Business Management.
Youth ESD Prevention Project Coordinator
(808) 591-6508 ext. 3
Kevin has over sixteen years of experience coordinating youth programs and doing community organizing and prevention work in Philadelphia, PA. A transplant to Honolulu, Kevin spent the previous eight years directing award-winning after-school and summer programs utilizing Hip Hop arts and culture for high school students highlighting the intersection of artistic and creative expression with individual and community health.
Valerie K. Saiki
Kaua‘i Community Coordinator (CTFH)
(808) 591-6508 ext. 12
Valerie has been an active member of the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai‘i since 2003 and spent the past 14 years working in various platforms of tobacco-control on O‘ahu and Kaua‘i. In July 2010, Valerie joined the staff of the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai‘i as the Kaua‘i Community Coalition Coordinator. In 2017, Valerie – after a year hiatus – returned to her passion in tobacco-control as the Kaua‘i Community Coordinator.
Community Coordinator, Maui Coalition for Drug-Free Youth
(808) 591-6508 ext. 24
Andrea is an experienced program coordinator, educator, researcher, and advocate for healthy policies. She has worked with educators across the state (and country) to incorporate culturally relevant, restorative, garden-enhanced nutrition education in schools, and looks forward to drawing from this expertise to help build drug-free communities on Maui and statewide.
Statewide Youth Coordinator
(808) 591-6508 ext. 2
Prior to joining HIPHI as staff, Scott had previously worked with the Institute on multiple policy committees as Executive Director for Community Programs with Blue Zones Project Hawai‘i. A resident for more than 25 years, Scott has been very involved in youth-focused activities, ranging from working 20+ years at Hawai‘i Pacific University in enrollment management to volunteering with the Boy Scouts of America and the American Youth Soccer Organization. He has an M.A. in Leadership from Augsburg College and a B.A. in Business Administration from Coe College.
Public Health Education and Communications Coordinator
(808) 591-6508 ext. 29
Alana Thomas joined HIPHI with a B.A. in Communications and experience in this realm. She is passionate about educating local communities on health equity. Alana believes the voices of local families can have a profound impact on public policy, and educating and empowering people in Hawaiʻi to engage in conversations on public health is a key value of hers. Alana spends her free time surfing and enjoying the beautiful hikes on Oʻahu.
Hawai‘i Farm to School Hui Special Projects Coordinator
(808) 591-6508 ext. 18
Olivia provides coordination support for the Hawai‘i Youth Food Council (HYFC) and other Hui projects. Originally from coastal Massachusetts, she earned her B.A. in Environmental Studies and International Relations from Saint Michael’s College in Vermont. She has worked extensively in the non-profit sector with a focused mission to enhance local food systems as a farmer, 4-H counselor, and community organizer. She looks forward to drawing from these experiences to support Hawaii’s farm to school movement from her home on O‘ahu.
Jessica Yamauchi, MA
Chief Executive Officer
(808) 591-6508 ext. 1
Jessica has been the Executive Director of the Hawai‘i Public Health Institute since 2012, shifting to CEO in 2021. She graduated from the University of Hawai‘i with a B.A. and M.A. in speech communication, with an emphasis in health communication. Prior to becoming the executive director, she served as the policy director for the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai‘i and worked to advance tobacco control policy initiatives in an effort to reduce smoking rates. Jessica has worked in the non-profit sector for over ten years and has worked for the University of Hawai‘i, Office of Public Health Studies, and the University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center. Jessica currently serves as co-chair of the Obesity Prevention Task Force.