What a year 2020 has been. While it has been a year of challenges and hardships, there have been silver linings for which we are grateful. We have witnessed our community come together to address immediate response needs and to challenge the status quo. Recognizing the need to not just return to normal but to address the inequities present prior to the pandemic. HIPHI has worked internally to ensure that our commitment to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion is upheld in 2021. We continue to work with our staff on strategies to stay safe during this pandemic and for the future.
Hawaiʻi has done an extraordinary amount of work to prepare for the anticipated COVID-19 vaccine. The state’s vaccination plan prioritizes health care personnel and long-term care facility residents to be among the first to receive the vaccine. The Hawai‘i COVID-19 website has more information on the current status of the state’s supply of vaccines, vaccination plan, and frequently asked questions. We recognize that it will take several months for the vaccine to be readily available and, until a significant percentage of our residents are vaccinated, we must continue to practice the guidance that has worked – wear a mask, wash your hands, limit gatherings, and continue to be physically distanced.
As this year comes to a close, we are grateful for new partnerships and programs launched including the Kūpuna Food Security Coalition, East Hawaiʻi underage drinking coalition and the Hawaiʻi Alcohol Policy Alliance. We would also like to thank Dr. Bryan Mih, Kapiʻolani Medical Center for Women and Children and Dr. Forrest Batz, retired faculty of Daniel K. Inouye School of Pharmacy, for their service on HIPHI’s board for six years. Dr. Mih and Dr. Batz have also volunteered extensively on our tobacco prevention work. Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to Dr. Mih and Dr. Batz and while their terms on our board have come to an end, we know that they will continue to be life-long advocates and volunteers for public health initiatives. HIPHI’s passionate partners and volunteers are our greatest assets.
With your continued support and partnership, HIPHI’s work continues to grow. As we head into 2021, please consider making an end of year tax-deductible contribution. On behalf of our staff and board, we thank you for your continued support and wish you and your family a very safe, healthy and happy holidays!