It wasn’t until the pandemic arrived that many of us grew to understand how essential communication is in our lives. We use verbal and non-verbal communications to gather information: make educated decisions, connect with others, and express our needs. As we have distanced ourselves from others to stop the spread of COVID-19, we have also decreased our face-to-face communications, preventing non-verbal forms of communication. 

Life without communication creates uncertainty, mistrust, or even fear. Ineffective communications surrounding COVID-19 can do the same. What strategy can we have to create and disseminate public health messaging surrounding COVID-19 to be clearly understood across the many cultures within Hawai‘i? 

As we continue to expand our strategy, we have been exploring new ways to respond. Hawai‘i Public Health Institute (HIPHI) recognizes the importance of different avenues of communication with accurate, accessible, and culturally relevant resources. We use accurate information from trusted sources, receiving the most up-to-date information from the Hawai‘i Department of  Health and community organizations working on COVID-19 relief efforts.  Our staff participates in communication outreach groups and receives feedback from Community Health Workers (CHWs) to produce culturally relevant material for specific communities in Hawai‘i. Information is made accessible through our bi-weekly COVID-19 newsletters, going to over 5,000 community members statewide. In addition, we continue to create and disseminate infographics and resource guides through CHWs, other networks, and partnering organizations, but our efforts don’t stop there! 

HIPHI  continues to host monthly COVID-19 Public Health Action Webinars, that cover essential topics surrounding COVID-19. In our last webinar on March 3, guest speaker Representative Linda Ichiyama stated, “this pandemic really showed how difficult it is to communicate a complicated message on a widespread level consistently”.  Her stance was clear as she followed up by explaining, “we need to get better and practice our lines of communication”. 

Accurate, accessible, and culturally relevant lines of communication are the glue to overcoming the pandemic. HIPHI  reassures you that we are committed to creating and disseminating essential information to you. If you would like to sign up for our bi-weekly COVID newsletter, click here. If you have information, resources or updates we should include in our next email or on our website, please contact us at covidresponse@hiphi.org.