The Hawaiʻi Medical Service Association (HMSA) donated $1 million to establish the HMSA Distinguished Endowed Professorship in Health Economics at the University of Hawaiʻi Economic Research Organization (UHERO) in UH Mānoa’s College of Social Sciences. The endowment will support UHERO’s research in the area of health economics.
“This is a key part of a larger health policy initiative at the College of Social Sciences focused on improving the health care of Hawaiʻi’s people and economy,” said Dean Denise Eby Konan, professor of economics and UHERO research fellow. “This endowment will enable the university to attract and retain the highest-caliber health economics faculty and advance research in the area of health economics. We’re grateful to HMSA for recognizing the critical importance of health care to Hawaiʻi’s economy.”
UHERO Executive Director Carl Bonham has worked closely with HMSA President and CEO Mark M. Mugiishi on Hawaiʻi’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two years.
“UHERO has been a key player in our economic development recovery efforts as we emerge from the damaging effects of COVID-19 across the state,” said Mugiishi. “HMSA remains committed to creating a healthier Hawaiʻi, especially in our efforts to improve the overall economic health in our local community.”
Bonham said HMSA and UHERO share a common vision, where data, research and analysis drive policy to improve the lives of Hawaiʻi’s people.
“We already have several projects underway that will benefit from a close collaboration with HMSA, including the development of a new linked housing and health database, and a new longitudinal health survey in Hawaiʻi,” Bonham said. “Both efforts are designed to study systemic health disparities exacerbated by COVID-19 and inform the design and execution of public health programs in Hawaiʻi.”
HMSA and its philanthropic arm, the HMSA Foundation, have a long history of giving to major health care initiatives at UH. In 2021, the HMSA Foundation gave $6 million in support of various initiatives at the John A. Burns School of Medicine and Nancy Atmospera-Walch School of Nursing.
“HMSA’s support over the years has been crucial to the work being done at the University of Hawaiʻi,” said Tim Dolan, CEO of UH Foundation and UH vice president of advancement. “This gift builds upon HMSA’s support and strengthens UHERO’s research in such an important sector. Mahalo to HMSA and Dr. Mugiishi for recognizing UHERO’s role in advancing Hawaiʻi’s economic health.”
This work is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of Excellence in Research: Advancing the Research and Creative Work Enterprise (PDF), one of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.