Rachael Wong

Former State Human Services Director Rachael Wong presents “Public Health is Everyone’s Business: Including Sexual Harassment and Violence” on Thursday, May 10, 5:15 p.m. in the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Biomedical Sciences auditorium. Wong will highlight how her background in public health helped her find ways to improve the health of people in local communities.

Wong is delivering the Delta Omega Distinguished Lecture on behalf of the UH Mānoa Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work’s Office of Public Health Studies. The event is free and open to the public.

“My driving mantra is improve the quality of life for others,” she said. “I want to share my continually evolving journey, which is grounded in a desire to help others and just do the right thing.”

In conjunction with Wong’s address, 10 UH students will be inducted into Delta Omega, a national honor society that recognizes, supports and encourages outstanding achievement in public health.

More about Rachael Wong

Wong, who was born and raised in Hawaiʻi, is the founder and strategic advisor of One Shared Future, an initiative in Honolulu to increase the public sector’s capacity to serve local communities through collaboration and innovation. She was formerly director of the state Department of Human Services (DHS). Prior to that, she was chief operating officer of the Healthcare Association of Hawaiʻi.

Wong filed an ethics complaint for sexual harassment against former state House Speaker and Representative Joe Souki after she resigned as director of DHS in 2016. Wong came forward despite concerns she would not be believed and that her department would face retaliation.

Subsequently, other women came forward with similar reports. Earlier this year, Souki publicly apologized and resigned.

Wong earned her master of public health at UH Mānoa, after completing a bachelor’s degree in East Asian studies and a certificate in women’s studies at Princeton University. She went on to earn her doctorate in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

For additional event-related details, including disability accommodation requests, email Professor Al Katz by May 3.