Noreen Mokuau, dean of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work, received awards from the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Social Workers–Hawaiʻi Chapter.
Mokuau is one of three winners of a prestigious Ōʻō Award from the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce. The other two honorees are clinical oncologist Clayton Chong and master navigator Nainoa Thompson.
The ʻōʻō is the chamber's symbol for recognizing Hawaiian individuals whose skillful use of their talent results in professional and industry success, and whose commitment to the community helps Hawaiians to grow and thrive. Mokuau was lauded for her work as a Native Hawaiian educator and researcher who has made substantial contributions to education and scholarship related to social justice, and to the health and well-being of Native Hawaiians and the people of Hawaiʻi.
Mokuau also accepted the National Association of Social Workers–Hawaiʻi Chapter’s Lifetime Educator Award in recognition of her significant achievements in her more than 30 years at the School of Social Work. As a scholar, mentor and teacher, Mokuau’s research focuses on cultural competency centers on social justice issues, including health disparities among Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander and Asian populations, as well as care-giving issues for culturally diverse elders.
“We know that awards are never about the accomplishments of one person but instead are a reflection of many people,” said Mokuau. “Awards are about the gifts of Ke Akua, ʻohana, and all of the people who have taken the huakaʻi with me to improve the lives of others.”