2016 Annual Report


As I reflect back, 2016 was definitely worthy of its own chapter in HIPHI’s story. It was a year that will be remembered as one filled with exciting new transitions and change. We launched new programs, supported new initiatives, expanded our staff and strengthened our youth advocacy efforts.

On January 1, 2016 the state’s new tobacco 21 law which prohibits the sale of tobacco and electronic smoking device (ESD) products went into effect. Hawai‘i became the first state in the nation to pass this landmark legislation when it was signed into law during the 2015 Legislative Session. With 9 in 10 smokers having started using tobacco products before they were 21, the new age requirement will reduce youth access and result in less initiation and usage, ultimately helping to save lives and create a tobacco-free generation.

While our tobacco work was strong in 2016, HIPHI was also transitioning to a broader public health agenda. With the launch of our Healthy Eating + Active Living (HEAL) county coalitions, HIPHI started tackling another leading cause of preventable death: obesity. HIPHI’s HEAL initiative aims to prevent obesity by tackling state and county solutions such as promoting worksite wellness, creating active communities by improving the built environment, and providing healthier food choices in workplaces and convenience and grocery stores.

In addition to the start of our HEAL coalitions, administration of the Obesity Prevention Task Force (OPTF) transitioned to HIPHI from the State Department of Health. The OPTF consists of more than 80 organizational stakeholders dedicated to reducing obesity through physical activity and nutrition policies. At the legislature, HIPHI worked with a number of partners in successfully passing legislation to require a physical examination for students entering the 7th grade. Prior to this law, students attending public school were only required to have one physical examination upon entry to school (usually in kindergarten). This new law will connect kids to their doctors at a pivotal time in a child’s growth and development, to identify any potential health problems early and address treatment or modification of healthy behaviors at home. This was a priority of the OPTF for four years and was a big win for our keiki. Mahalo to all who helped with the passage of this law.

I also wanted to highlight HIPHI’s ongoing commitment to expanding understanding of what creates health and strengthening capacity of communities to create their own healthful future. In 2016, HIPHI organized Perspectives on Community Health trips on 6 islands—providing HIPHI staff, partners, advocates, and community members the opportunity to learn from dozens of organizations that contribute to the health of the people they serve. HIPHI also partnered with Islander Institute to convene 18 community talk story sessions with hundreds of people throughout Hawai‘i to explore individual, family, and community practices that create a sense of health, wholeness, happiness and well-being, as well as how communities can work with health care and government stakeholders to design a health system build around what matters most to us rather than what is wrong with us.

The collective wisdom gathered from community meetings remains with us as we meet with our partners and coalition members to set policy priorities and as we deliberate where we go next with our programmatic work. Thank you to all of our partners, advocates, donors and dedicated board and staff for all you do! The year ahead holds great promise and we are grateful to have you along with us for the ride.

With Aloha,

Jessica Yamauchi

2016 Goals

  • Expand smoke-free vehicles beyond Hawai‘i County.

  • Launch new efforts to fight diabetes and heart disease.

  • Educate the public about the public health risks of e-cigarettes.

  • Expand staff to support new programmatic work.

2016 Highlights

Launched Healthy Eating + Active Living (HEAL) island coalitions. As part of HIPHI’s new broader mission, we hired county coalition organizers throughout the state to work with their communities on a variety of projects, including greater access to healthy foods, advancing policy to reduce the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, and built environment investments (bike lanes, complete streets, and safer roads.)

Raising the age to purchase or use tobacco and vape products  effective January 1, 2016. Hawai‘i became the first state in the nation to raise the legal age to sell or purchase tobacco products (including e-cigarettes) to 21. This was a crowning achievement for our public health community and could reap great rewards for the people of our state. According to the Surgeon General, 95 percent of all adult smokers start smoking before the age of 21. Delaying the age that youth begin using tobacco will reduce the risk that they will become regular smokers as they get older, leading to lower prevalence rates and saving millions of dollars in health care costs.

Choose Healthy Now signs first major statewide partner. Aloha Petroleum becomes the first convenience store chain to participate in Choose Healthy Now, a program of the Hawai‘i Department of Health and Hawai‘i Public Health Institute, to increase access to healthier food options. More than 100 Aloha Gas locations now prominently feature healthy food offerings throughout their stores.

Helped enact a physical exam requirement for seventh grade students. The new physical exam requirement will connect students and their families with a doctor at a critical time in a child’s development. In many cases, children were not being seen by a doctor since their entry into Kindergarten. The new requirement closes the gap, helping to diagnose health conditions prior to entry into the seventh grade… and giving parents time to correct dietary or other issues before its too late.

Kaua‘i County passes smoke-free vehicles ordinance. Joining Hawai‘i Island, Kau‘i County becomes the second county in the state to protect keiki from toxic secondhand smoke in vehicles. Science shows that, even with a window down, the air in a vehicle with secondhand smoke is 10 times as toxic as what the EPA considers unsafe to breathe.

Launched major branding initiative and world-class website. Throughout 2016, HIPHI underwent a major image overhaul and, in December, launched a new feature-rich website with a major focus on community. The new website connects people directly to the latest news and events for their island and even allows the public to submit health-related events to the site events calendar.

Program LAUNCH: Healthy Eating + Active Living

Formerly known as the Nutrition and Physical Activity Coalitions (NPAC), our new HEAL county coalitions are advocating for systemic changes necessary for Hawai‘i residents to participate in a lifestyle of healthy eating and active living. In 2006, Hawai‘i stakeholders from across the state convened and decided that county coalitions were necessary to reach the common goals of reducing overweight, obesity, and chronic disease among all Hawai‘i residents.

Our HEAL coalitions are working for a Hawai’i where all residents live in healthy communities, have access to healthy foods, and have safe streets and pathways for physical activity. 

In 2016, our new HEAL staff helped promote and implement the Choose Healthy Now program as well as a number of other initiatives. Check out some of our blog updates on some of their work:

Kaua‘i businesses enact over 100 policies and changes to improve health

Maui students promote safer walking and biking

New Pedestrian Wayfinding Signage in Wailuku Town

Wayfinding with Hilo Bayfront Trails

West Hawai‘i HEAL joins Chef Stephen Rouelle to tackle Diabetes through a plant-based diet

2016 Board of Directors


Keawe’aimoku Kaholokula, Chair

Michael Robinson, Vice Chair

Mark Levin, Secretary

Kent Kasaoka, Treasurer


Joy Barua

Forrest Batz

Clifford Chang

Kilikina Mahi

Brian Mih

Rachel Novotny

Napua Spock

Mahalo to Our Donors

Major Funders

Hawai‘i State Department of Health

Hawai‘i Community Foundation

Tobacco Prevention and Control Trust Fund
Robert Emens Black Fund
Discretionary General Fund
Kosasa Family Fund
Omidyar ‘Ohana Fund

Kaiser Permanente

National Network of Public Health Institutes

University of Hawai‘i

John A. Burns School of Medicine, Department of Native Hawaiian Health

Corporate Donors

Hawai‘i Pacific Health


Watumull Foundation

The Advocates, Robert Toyofuku


Platinum Supporter $1,000+

Rachel Novotny

Gold Supporter $250-999

Clifford Chang

Keawe’aimoku Kaholokula

Michael Robinson

Silver Supporter $100-249

Stephanie Austin

Steven Bradshaw

Sunki Chai

Stacy Evensen

Marilyn Gagen

Jerris Hedges

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Josh Levinson

Kina Mahi

Bryan Mih

Jim Niess

Hilton & Kathryn Raethel

Joan A Takamori

Colby Takeda

Elizabeth Tam

Jessica Yamauchi

Valerie Yontz

Don Weisman

In-Kind Services or Goods

489 Group

Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing

Kent Kasaoka CPA

91% of your contributions go directly to programs, trainings and advancing policy across the islands!


Bronze Supporter $50-99

Sally Ancheta

Brian Birch

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