Hā Kūpuna, the National Resource Center for Native Hawaiian Elders located in the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, was recently honored with the Award for Excellence in Multicultural Aging by the American Society on Aging.
Hā Kūpuna’s work speaks to the giving of hā, or breath of life, from the older to younger generations. In Native Hawaiian culture, kūpuna traditionally are recognized as the major sources of wisdom and the transmitters of knowledge and training to younger generations. In order to provide kūpuna with the opportunity to pass hā to younger generations, consideration must be given to the promotion of their well-being, health and access to long-term care. The goal of Hā Kūpuna is to improve access to and delivery of services to Native Hawaiian elders and their caregivers through the development and dissemination of knowledge around health and long-term care patterns and preferences.
“We are thrilled by this prestigious national recognition,” said Dean Noreen Mokuau of the School of Social Work. “We have distinguished faculty leaders in Hā Kūpuna who work with our students and community partners to tenaciously promote the health and well-being of Native Hawaiian elders and their ʻohana.”
Shared Hā Kūpuna Principal Investigator Colette V. Browne, “We were pleased to accept, together with our partner national resource centers for native elders at the University of North Dakota and the University of Alaska, the Award for Excellence in Multicultural Aging from the American Society on Aging (ASA). The ASA is the nation’s largest professional association in aging. Recognition of the work of Hā Kūpuna, National Resource Center for Native Hawaiian Elders, signals an increased awareness of the social and health disparities faced by native elders, and the need for continued research and policies to alleviate them.”