$10 Million Commitment Launches UH Health Policy Initiative

The University of Hawaii to the Mānoa Health Policy Initiative (HPI), which aims to improve health care in Hawaiiwas launched with a multi-year, $10 million commitment from the Med-QUEST Division of the State Department of Human Services.

Installed in uh Mānoa College of Social Sciences, HPI will facilitate research on public impact in health analytics under the leadership of the Social Science Research Institute, led by Jack Barrel. HPI is a cornerstone of the university UHealthy Hawaii initiative that leverages uh programs to improve health and health care locally and in the Pacific.

Hawaii and the Pacific region offer many unique factors that positively impact an individual’s quality of life, from cultural strengths and strong community connections to access to nature and green spaces, said Denise Eby Konan, Dean of the College of Social Sciences. “At the same time, our residents are experiencing high rates of health disparities, diseases and vulnerabilities. This funding is critical to solving these emerging and chronic health issues and is the focus of our partnership with Med-QUEST.

Goals for HPI include:

  • Foster collaboration between uh Mānoa and government agencies (e.g. the Hawaii health and human services departments) to address emerging and chronic health issues through rapid translation of faculty research and participation in working groups.
  • Advance understanding of the causes and consequences of poor health and well-being Hawaii and the Pacific region using various research methods.
  • Evaluate existing health and social programs to identify and recommend best practices.
  • Design innovative, research-based policies and initiatives to improve health and reduce costs.
  • Build the capacity of the state workforce and train future health leaders to work directly with state departments and agencies.

“The Med-QUEST Division is delighted to continue its partnership with the College of Social Sciences. Working together will allow us to conduct critical research and influence health policy for the state of Hawaiisaid Judy Mohr Peterson, director of Medicaid and administrator of Med-QUEST.

The Med-QUEST funding will also create two faculty positions in the College of Social Sciences to lead and direct HPIadding valuable research expertise and maximizing research efforts, as well as a number of staff positions to support the efforts of the initiative.

This public impact research is an example of uh Mānoa’s goal of research excellence: to advance the enterprise of research and creative work (PDF), one of the four objectives defined in the Strategic Plan 2015-2025 (PDF), updated December 2020.

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