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Jessica Yamauchi


As we reflect on the events of 2021, we find ourselves navigating another year filled with both challenges and opportunities. While the global pandemic continued to impact our lives, new developments brought hope and change.

2021 marked a significant turning point in the pandemic. The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in December 2020 was a beacon of hope, offering the opportunity to protect our communities and regain a sense of normalcy. Residents and visitors alike could once again dine indoors, and students returned to in-person classes for the start of the 2021-2022 academic school year.

However, the battle against the virus continued with the emergence of the Delta variant. This new challenge reminded us of the importance of remaining vigilant in our efforts to safeguard public health. HIPHI adapted swiftly to these changing circumstances, continuing to provide essential information and support to our community through informative webinars and updates. We also supported community outreach events that provided COVID-19 vaccination and testing, ensuring communities had access to these vital services.

This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai‘i. The Coalition’s creation in 1996 as a grassroots effort of like-minded organizations was a response to the need for a long-term and sustained effort to reduce tobacco use in the state. In 1996, smoking rates were alarmingly high, with 22.2% for adults, 34% for young adults aged 18 to 24, and a shocking high school smoking rate of 32.4%. Smoking was allowed nearly everywhere, including airplanes, restaurants, and bars, and the excise tax on cigarettes was a mere 60 cents a pack.

However, thanks to the collective efforts of our dedicated advocates, Hawai‘i has made public health history over the last 25 years. Smoking rates have significantly decreased. Hawai‘i’s current smoking rate for adults is now at 11.6%, and high school youth smoking has dropped to 5.3%. Clean indoor air regulations have become the social norm, and Hawai‘i became the first state to raise the age to purchase tobacco to 21. We still have dedicated funding for tobacco prevention and control to support cessation programs and prevention, though this was endangered as a result of the strain the pandemic placed on our state’s finances. Even as the state’s financial outlook improved, HB 1296, the bill that would repeal the Tobacco Prevention and Control Trust Fund, passed through the legislature. Dismantling this source of dedicated, protected funding for prevention and cessation programs jeopardized decades of progress. Thankfully, Governor David Ige vetoed HB 1296, preserving the Trust Fund and the programs it supports to decrease the burden of tobacco in our communities.

We were appalled by the Red Hill water contamination crisis when petroleum was found in our water supply on O‘ahu. Access to clean, safe drinking water is a fundamental human right, essential for the enjoyment of life and all other human rights. For years, advocates have been sounding the alarm about the need to protect our drinking water. The Red Hill Fuel Tank facility, which was the source of the contamination, sits perilously close to the aquifer that supplies water to over 400,000 people, spanning from Hālawa to Hawai’i Kai. This public health crisis was entirely preventable, and it serves as a poignant reminder of the critical importance of safeguarding our precious natural resources.

As we reflect on the challenges and successes of 2021, we remain grateful for your continued support. HIPHI could not have achieved all that we have without the dedication of our partners, advocates, funders, and donors. Your contributions have enabled us to rise to the year’s challenges and work towards a healthier Hawaiʻi. We look forward to the year ahead, filled with renewed determination and a strong commitment to promoting health equity.

With Aloha,

Jessica Yamauchi

2021 Goals

Regulating E-Cigarettes: Creating policy parity between e-cigarettes and other tobacco products by removing flavors, including menthol, restricting online sales, enacting tobacco taxes, and requiring permits and licenses.
Sugary Drink Fee: Create a two-cent-per-ounce fee on sugary drinks to raise revenue and improve health.
Expand “DA BUX” Double Up Food Bucks Program to support access to fresh, locally-grown produce.
Restore Dental Benefits for Adult Medicaid Recipients: Expand dental care services beyond pain relief and tooth extractions for low-income adults to reduce direct emergency room costs ($17 million in 2016) to the state and improve oral health for Hawai‘i’s families.

2021 Highlights

After Action Report Highlights Impacts of Kūpuna Food Security Coalition

The Kūpuna Food Security Coalition (KFSC) released an After Action Report detailing how a cross-sectoral partnership of over 40 organizations came together to meet the hunger needs of Oʻahu kūpuna. Originally formed as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the KFSC employed data-informed actions to map community need and mobilize food and meal resources efficiently while acting as an incubator for innovative food security models and establishing a community of practice among stakeholders. KFSC successfully distributed over 1.2 million meals, conducted 30,000 health and wellness checks, connected 4,800 older adults to sustainable food assistance programs, and served up to 8,262 unique kūpuna each week.

Farm to School Legislative Wins

On July 2, 2021, Governor David Ige signed Act 175 (2021) into law, establishing the Hawaiʻi Farm to School Program within the Hawaiʻi Department of Education (HIDOE). This law also establishes a Farm to School Coordinator position within HIDOE, and sets a goal that by 2030, thirty percent of food served in Hawaii’s public schools will be locally-sourced.

Youth Advocates Recognized Nationally and Locally

The remarkable efforts of the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai’i Youth Council have not gone unnoticed, both on a national and local level. These dedicated young advocates, who have been leading the charge against tobacco, received prestigious recognition for their leadership in the fight against tobacco. On September 29, 2021, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids presented the Youth Council with the “Group Youth Advocates of the Year” at their annual Youth Advocates of the Year Awards celebration event. The Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai‘i Youth Council also received the Hawai‘i Children and Youth Day, Hawaii’s Outstanding Advocates for Child and Youth award (under the Health category), on October 3, 2021.

Published in Hawai‘i Journal of Health & Social Welfare

In October 2021, the Hawai‘i Journal of Health and Social Welfare published a special issue featuring 11 articles that focused on the challenges of COVID-19, chronic diseases, and health inequities. HIPHI CEO Jessica Yamauchi served as a Guest Editor with Lola Irvin, Hawai‘i State Department of Health, and Dr. Catherine Pirkle as Lead Guest Editor, University of Hawai‘i, Office of Public Health Studies. HIPHI contributed three articles in this journal:

  • Advancing Health Equity in Hawai‘i: Critical Reflections on COVID-19, Chronic Conditions, and Health Disparities
  • The Critical Role Hawaii’s Community Health Workers are Playing in COVID-19 Response Efforts
  • Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Fee: A Model to Address Health Disparities in Hawai‘i

HIPHI Participates in UN Food Systems Summit

On November 29, 2021, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres convened a Food Systems Summit as part of the Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Dr. Susan Mercado, Director for Food Systems and Resiliency at HIPHI, was part of a panel of 5 convenors representing different parts of the world who provided feedback on the Independent Dialogue process and shared ideas on the way forward. She emphasized the importance of utilizing ancestral wisdom in enabling the island populations of the world to achieve greater food self-sufficiency. Dr. Mercado also highlighted the detrimental impact of current food systems, especially in island regions, and stressed the urgency of transforming these systems to reduce the consumption of processed foods linked to diabetes and hypertension. Instead, she encouraged an increased intake of fresh, locally sourced produce in island communities, emphasizing the crucial link between public health and food systems in the development agenda.

Leading up to the Summit, HIPHI, in conjunction with the City and County of Honolulu, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, and Hawaiʻi Pacific University, led a global agenda-setting initiative for food systems transformation, with a specific focus on health through a series of public discussions for Hawaiʻi and island nations, states and communities from around the world. The series “Healthier Islands through Sustainable Food Systems” focused on 1) culture, diversity and identity; and 2) food as medicine.

New Programs: Kūpuna Food Security Coalition Expanded into Vaccination Efforts and COVID Outreach

Kūpuna Vaccination Efforts. Leveraging the momentum and partnerships built through the Kūpuna Food Security Coalition, the Kūpuna Vaccination Outreach Group (KVOG) was established to support equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for kūpuna and individuals with disabilities. KVOG grew into a public-private collaboration of over 50 organizations that worked together to activate partnerships, leverage trusting relationships with their networks, and quickly mobilize resources to increase vaccine access and ensure no kūpuna were left behind. As a result, 100.0% of kūpuna aged 65 and older residing in the City & County of Honolulu are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

COVID Outreach. HIPHI worked alongside partners to expand COVID-19 vaccination outreach efforts in Hawai’i communities and ensure accessibility for all. HIPHI’s COVID-19 Outreach Coordinators have been actively involved in supporting community outreach events that offer vaccination and testing services, often held in family-friendly settings like schools, churches, and shopping areas. These events have seen different organizations coming together to promote vaccination, and HIPHI’s team has engaged with unvaccinated individuals, providing educational materials, answering questions, and canvassing in various communities. In addition, the outreach coordinators provided remote support to Ka‘ū Rural Health Community Association for community education and vaccination drives.

2021 Board Of Directors


  • Kilikina Mahi, Chair
  • Michael Robinson, Immediate Past Chair
  • Joann ʻUmilani Tsark, Secretary
  • Debbie Erskine, Treasurer


  • Keshia Adolpho
  • Keawe Kaholokula
  • Mark Levin
  • Rachel Novotny
  • May Okihiro
  • Misty Pacheco
  • Garret Sugai

Mahalo To Our Donors

91% Of Your Contributions Go Directly To Programs, Trainings and Advancing Policy Across The Islands!

Major Funders

  • AARP
  • AlohaCare
  • Atherton Family Foundation
  • City and County of Honolulu
  • Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
  • CareQuest Institute for Oral Health
  • Center for Disease Control
  • Center for Disease Control Foundation
  • Ching Foundation
  • Frost Family Foundation
  • G.N. Wilcox Trust
  • Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation
  • Hawaiʻi Community Foundation
  • Hawaiʻi Children’s Trust Fund
  • Hawai‘i Resilience Fund
  • Kahuku Community Fund
  • Kukio Community Fund
  • Nichols Fund
  • Tobacco Prevention & Control Trust Fund

Major Funders

  • Hawaiʻi State Department of Education
  • Hawaiʻi State Department of Health
  • Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division
  • Chronic Disease Prevention & Health Promotion Division
  • Disease Outbreak Control Division
  • Executive Office on Aging
  • Family Health Services Division
  • Maternal and Child Health Branch
  • Office of Planning Policy and Program Development
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) Program
  • Hawai‘i County
  • Hawai‘i Pacific Health
  • HDS Foundation
  • HMSA
  • James Campbell Foundation
  • Johnson Ohana Foundation

Major Funders

  • Kaiser Permanente
  • East Bay Community Foundation
  • Kaiser Foundation Health Plan
  • The Public Good Project
  • Kamehameha Schools
  • Kua‘āina Ulu ‘Auamo
  • Lanakila Pacific
  • Matson Foundation
  • Maui County
  • McInerny Foundation
  • Nuestro Futuro Foundation
  • Public Health Institute
  • Research Corporation of the University of Hawai‘i
  • Stupski Foundation
  • Sust‘āinable Molokai
  • University of Arizona
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration
  • Voices for Healthy Kids

Individual and Corporate Donors

Platinum Supporter $1,000+

  • Thomas Kosasa
  • Carolyn J. Lee
  • The Queen’s Health System
  • Gary Simon
  • Robert Toyofuku
  • Vanguard Charitable
  • Benjamin Young

Gold Supporter $250-999

  • Alana and Donald Busekrus
  • Michelle Cordero-Lee
  • Anuhea Daley
  • Sharon Egi
  • Debbie Erskine
  • Stacy Evensen
  • Ann Hayashi
  • Joseph Keawe‘aimoku Kaholokula
  • Mark Levin
  • Josh Levinson
  • Kilikina Mahi
  • Dawn Morais Webster
  • Rachel Novotny
  • May Y. Okihiro
  • Garret Sugai
  • Christopher Sy
  • Colby Takeda
  • JoAnn Tsark

Silver Supporter $100-249

  • Forrest Batz
  • Steven Bradshaw
  • Jessica Cabusog
  • Clifford Chang
  • Rick Collins
  • May Rose Dela Cruz
  • Gillian Dunn
  • Roella Foronda
  • Marilyn Gagen
  • Chelsea Gonzales
  • Michelle Gray
  • Kent Kasaoka
  • Dennis Kondo
  • Rie Kuhaulua
  • Ronald Kuriki
  • Trish La Chica
  • Hye-Ryeon Lee
  • Julian Lipsher
  • ​​Ananda Luttet
  • Jessanie Marques
  • Susan Marshall
  • Susan Mercado
  • Bryan Mih
  • Barbara Morgan
  • Lydi Morgan Bernal
  • Kenneth Nakamura
  • Lia Pasco
  • Kevin Ramirez
  • Dina Shek
  • Scott Stensrud
  • Michelle Tagorda-Kama
  • Cat Taschner
  • Gavin Thornton
  • Donald Weisman
  • Thomas A. Wills
  • Jessica Yamauchi
  • Deborah Zysman

Bronze Supporter $50-99

  • Keshia Adolpho
  • Sally Ancheta
  • Kayla Carlisle
  • Angela Chock
  • Amanda Fernandes
  • Katie Folio
  • Andrew Garrett
  • Mark Garrity
  • Lindsey Ilagan
  • Meghan McGurk
  • Jaylen Murakami
  • Makamae Namahoe
  • Sonya Niess
  • Lauren Nelson
  • Cheyne Nomura
  • Misty Pacheco
  • Hali Robinett
  • Alana Thomas
  • En Young

Friend $5-49

  • Rebecka Adolpho
  • ​​Adele Chong
  • Justina Clanton
  • Lisa DeSantis
  • Patrick Donnelly
  • Kirsty Gallaher
  • Cyd Hoffeld
  • Mary Leyva
  • Lauren Loor
  • Clarence Nishihara
  • Nancy Redfeather
  • Valerie Saiki
  • Andrea Snow
  • Jill Tamashiro
  • John A. Hau’oli Tomoso
  • Elizabeth Winternitz


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