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Mahalo Nui to TFHI Chair, Shelly Ogata

Shelly Ogata is a force of nature. Some would say she is a tobacco-control super hero and they would be right. 

For the past few decades, Shelly has been a leader in the community, dedicating herself to serving the people of Hawai`i in issues related to public health. As one of the founding members for the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai`i Island (TFHI), Shelly understands the needs of our community as it relates to tobacco control and strategically addresses them with tenacity and hard work.  

From the beginnings of TFHI in 2003, Shelly worked hard to raise the purchase age for tobacco products, supported smoke-free space policies, and has fought and continues to fight to protect our keiki and ʻōpio from the influences of Big Tobacco through policy change and education. 

Shelly is from Hawaiʻi Island and spent some time living in Oʻahu before moving back home. She holds a special place in her heart for our kūpuna and keiki, and has spent her life advocating for those in need. Her empathy, kindness, work ethic, and ability to organize and execute plans make her a natural leader. TFHI thanks her for her leadership over the decades and offers a special thanks for serving as TFHI Chair between 2020 and 2022. 

As Shelly prepares to pass her TFHI Chair duties to incoming TFHI co-chairs, Jen Valera and Kai Carvalho of Hamakua-Kohala Health, the Hawai`i Public Health Institute and TFHI would like to take a moment to recognize her hard work and acknowledges her as a driving force in the coalition. Coalition member and community partner, Jan-Marie Osorio from the County of Hawai`i Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, has this to say about Shelly’s work and leadership within the Coalition:

“I have known Shelly for almost 20 years, and for as long as I’ve known her, she has dedicated her life work to serving the people of Hawai’i County.  From Keiki to Kupuna, she has been an advocate for healthy lifestyles and a tobacco-free Hawai’i.  The knowledge and experience she brings to the work she does is immeasurable, and her integrity makes you really appreciate having her on your team.  As a TFHI member, she brings an expansive network that reaches beyond our shores- a true reflection of the relationships she has fostered throughout her career and the kind of person that she is, a total keeper!”

 – Jan-Marie, Crime Prevention and Justice Assistance Group


Former TFHI Coalition Coordinator and current TFHI member, Sally Ancheta, speaks to her long friendship with Shelly as well as Shelly’s instrumental leadership in Hawaiʻi County tobacco-control: 

“Shelly has been instrumental in leading the TFHI as our Coalition Chair for the past several years and as a founding coalition member from 2003.  She has readily been available to connect TFHI with our Hawaiʻi County lawmakers to provide testimony on statewide tobacco control legislation and has been a lead collaborator in educating our communities about the youth vaping epidemic. Shelly is committed to helping CTFH create tobacco-free communities in Hawaiʻi. 

-Sally Ancheta, East Hawai’i Drug Free Coalition Coordinator


As we go into the new year as a coalition, we thank Shelly for her service and for her continued leadership within the coalition, her mentorship, manaʻo on policy, and for continuing to connect and collaborate on tobacco and vape issues. Thank you Shelly Ogata for continuing the fight against Big Tobacco and for enriching the coalition in immeasurable ways. Mahalo nui loa!

For more information about Tobacco Free Hawai‘i Island please visit: or contact Jahkotta Lewis

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