2020 has started out more challenging than most of us expected. Most of us can’t keep up with information that continues to come out faster than we can read it. Like you, we are concerned about the risk that COVID-19 presents to our state. Information is rapidly evolving and many health care facilities, businesses, non-profits, and educational institutes are working hard to evaluate and create contingency plans moving forward to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. We urge everyone to take the necessary precautions, stay calm, and stay informed. Recommended precautions include: washing your hands often for at least 20 seconds, using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, avoiding touching your face, practice social distancing, and limiting or postponing any unnecessary travel. Regularly updated information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (including additional precautions), the Hawaiʻi State Department of Health (DOH), and reports from the World Health Organization are available with very helpful information. You can sign up for daily email updates on the DOH website as well. We have seen testing ramping up locally, and we remain supportive of and thankful for our healthcare system, facilities, and health workforce across the state as they aid our residents and communities. In preparation for various emergencies, not only for COVID-19, local food banks, food pantries and emergency relief organizations need your continued support. Please visit HIPHI’s Facebook, Instagram and website for social media posts for more updates.
Amidst COVID-19, it is important that we all complete the 2020 census. A full count in the 2020 census is key to Hawai’i receiving its rightful share of federal funding. Governor Ige has created the Hawaiʻi Government Complete Count Committee, comprised of state agencies, partners, and community organizations from all four counties to coordinate efforts to accurately count Hawaii’s Census 2020. Through these collaborative efforts and outreach, Hawaiʻi hopes to raise awareness among hard-to-count populations and encourage complete count participation. For more information on how you can get involved and let your count matter in Census 2020, please visit www.hawaiicounts.org.
Although the legislative session is currently in recess, we we would like to thank all of our advocates and supporters who have been supporting legislation aimed to regulate e-cigarettes (including ending the sale of flavored tobacco products), farm to school initiatives, vision zero, minimum wage, and oral health – restoring adult dental benefits for medicaid enrollees.
It seems like a lifetime ago, but in January we held our annual board and staff retreat. HIPHI is truly lucky to have a dedicated board who devotes time to strategic planning and understanding our work. We were blessed with the opportunity to convene our two day retreat at Kahumana Farms to reflect, bond, and revitalize our passions for our mission and vision for our organization. Some of us are wary of strategic planning, namely the time and energy needed to put into the process, but it is so necessary to revisit and reinvest in the core guiding principles to keep us focused, connected and moving forward.
We are also fortunate to see our work grow, including on Maui. We recently held an office blessing to celebrate the opening of our first HIPHI neighbor island office! We are excited for the continued movement that is happening for Maui County around tobacco prevention and control, healthy eating + active living (HEAL), farm to school, food access, and alcohol and drug prevention.
We look forward to celebrating Public Health Week April 6 – 10, and hope youʻll tune in for our office yoga event. With many businesses starting to work from home, it’s more important than ever to focus on how we can still improve our wellness with small changes. We look forward to coming together for a few minutes; look out for our emails in the next week!
We are still hoping to get more responses for our Public Health Workforce Training Survey. Hawai‘i Public Health Training Hui offers free monthly online trainings and continuing education credits for nursing, dietetics, CSAC, social work, and CHES. We hope to understand the training needs of Hawaii’s public health workforce so that we may offer relevant and useful trainings. The survey is open through the end of March to EVERYONE who works to improve the health and well-being of Hawaii’s communities; this definitely includes a broad range of professionals such as public health professionals, medical providers, school wellness staff, Farm to School professionals, traditional healers, community health workers, and so forth). The survey will probably take about 20-30 minutes and please note that section 3 is OPTIONAL). Please join us in taking the survey here.
During these difficult times, it is important to remember that we are a community. Please take care of yourself, your families, and your neighbors, and offer a helping hand where you can. Together, we will get through this. Thank you all so much for your support in public health efforts across the state.
Wishing you all good health,