Aloha kakou! HIPHI is pleased to announce the recent hiring of Jahkotta Lewis to the position of Community Coordinator for East Hawai‘i (for Tobacco Free Hawai‘i Island and Healthy Eating + Active Living). Jahkotta takes the place of former Community Coordinator Sally Ancheta, who transitioned to the role of East Hawai‘i Drug-Free Coalition Coordinator earlier this year.
Jahkotta will work closely with the Tobacco-Free Hawai‘i Island (TFHI) Coalition and Healthy Eating + Active Living (HEAL) partners to provide resources that inspire our diverse communities to reduce tobacco use and exposure while making healthy and active lifestyle choices. Jahkotta previously worked for the Research Corporation of the University of Hawai‘i (RCUH) and the National Park Service (NPS) as a Cultural Resource Specialist. With a background in cultural resources, public outreach, intra-agency policy, and cooperative agreements, Jahkotta possesses a unique skill set that will be used to assist TFHI and HEAL in fostering change through education, policy, and advocacy.
Jahkotta grew up in the Hawaiian Acres/Mountain View area of Hawai‘i Island and comes from a large family of educators, law enforcement officers, and farmers. She attended school at the Hawai‘i Community College and the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and received her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Psychology in 2003. After graduating, Jahkotta worked at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park in the Cultural Resources Division. During her tenure with the park, Jahkotta served as a member of the Integrated Cave Resource Team and worked in public outreach and historic preservation.
In 2009, she left the national park service and studied Cultural Resource Management at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California. After spending several years in California, a family emergency brought Jahkotta back to the islands, where she served as a caregiver for her mother as she battled pancreatic cancer. During this time with her mother, Jahkotta became familiar with public health services and began contemplating a career in the field. While her interest in public health was ignited during this period, she continued her work with RCUH, completing historic preservation research, writing statements of intent for cooperative agreements, creating outreach programs, and keeping the army in compliance with federal law at the Pōhakuloa Training Area.
Jahkotta is excited to be part of HIPHI’s team and has spent the first month of her employment completing the onboarding process and meeting with community and coalition partners.
HIPHI seeks a West Hawai‘i Community Coordinator, counterpart to the East Hawai‘i position. The West Hawai‘i Community Coordinator position operates in conjunction with the East Hawai‘i Community Coordinator, aligning work with the Hawai‘i Statewide Tobacco Strategic Plan and the Hawai‘i Physical Activity and Nutrition Plan to support existing statewide strategic efforts. For more information about the West Hawai‘i Community Coordinator position, please contact Roella Foronda, Programs Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 808-591-6508 ext. 5.
Jahkotta lives in the small town of Pepeekeo, approximately 15 minutes outside of Hilo. She resides with her husband, three sons, seventeen chickens, thirty-five fish, two goats, two cats, and a dog. If you have any questions about the East Hawai‘i TFHI and HEAL initiative, please reach out to Jahkotta Lewis at email@example.com, or call 808-591-6508 ext. 26.