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Fall 2023 Update from Our CEO

  • News

I’m writing to you from Indianapolis, Indiana, where I’m attending the National Network of Public Health Institutes’ Open Forum: Next Generation Conference to learn about emerging practices and innovations related to public health infrastructure, the public health workforce, complex public health challenges, and topics related to performance management and quality improvement. The conference’s theme is “Transforming Public Health for a Resilient Future: Equipping and Empowering our Workforce to Advance Health Equity.”

This topic is especially timely, as the federal government has recently invested $3.2 billion to help jurisdictions across the US, including the Hawai‘i State Department of Health, through a Public Health Infrastructure Grant to strengthen their public health workforce and infrastructure in the following areas:

  • Workforce: Recruiting, training, retaining, and supporting a larger and more diverse public health staff with a focus on equity.
  • Foundational capabilities: Strengthening organizational systems and processes.
  • Data modernization: Creating a more modern and efficient data infrastructure that enables jurisdictions to make public health data more readily available.

In addition, the National Network of Public Health Institutes, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, and the Public Health Accreditation Board were funded to provide technical assistance. As a member of the National Network of Public Health Institutes, HIPHI is strategically positioned to assist the Department of Health with its Public Health Infrastructure Grant. Hawai‘i urgently needs to build its public health workforce pipeline to ensure we are not only improving the health of individuals but also able to quickly respond to emerging health threats, foster economic and climate resiliency, and drive progress toward health equity.

Our commitment to workforce development efforts extends beyond the Public Health Infrastructure grant. Our Internship and Americorps VISTA programs have fostered the growth and development of individuals interested in the field of public health. HIPHI’s Public Health Workforce Development Program Manager, Rie Kuhaulua, recently shared about these programs at the Hawai‘i Health Workforce Summit in the “Public Health Workforce Needs, Innovative Models, and Future Directions” panel.

We are thrilled to welcome eight new staff members to our team this fall. Additionally, we are excited to foster internal growth by promoting some of our long-time staff members, Kevin Ramirez and Lauren Loor, as program managers for the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai‘i and Healthy Eating + Active Living Initiative, respectively. We also have several open positions throughout the state, providing valuable opportunities for those looking to make a meaningful impact on public health in Hawai‘i. 

As we enter the last quarter of the year, we look forward to the many exciting events planned, including Araw Ng Saliksik: Health Research Report Back to the Filipino Community on October 14 and the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai‘i’s Annual Stakeholder Meeting on November 8.  

The strength and resilience of our public health workforce are essential to fulfilling our mission to advance health and wellness in Hawai‘i. As we navigate the evolving landscape of public health challenges, we must continue to empower our workforce to advance health equity, build healthier communities, and shape a brighter future for all. 

With Aloha,

Jessica Yamauchi
Jessica Yamauchi
Chief Executive Officer

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