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Healani Chang (center, in purple) with her students from the ʻIlima SACNAS Chapter at UH.

A University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa research specialist was elected to the Board of Directors of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). Healani Chang will serve a four-year commitment and lead the influential organization that supports diversity in STEM disciplines.

“I’m honored and excited to represent Hawaiʻi and UH at a national level with an organization that works toward inclusive excellence in STEM,” said Chang, who has been a faculty member at UH Mānoa since 1982 with appointments in the Pacific Biosciences Research Center, now in the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST); John A. Burns School of Medicine; and Center for Teaching Excellence.

Chang earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from UH Mānoa, with expertise in public health and Indigenous health systems, and has long focused on improving health disparities and access to academic and career pathways among Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders.

“We are proud to have Healani in this leadership role,” said Chip Fletcher, interim dean of SOEST. “As a graduate of the UH Mānoa education system, and now a senior mentor for our current students and employees, Healani represents yet another sign post that we place high value on Indigenous perspectives, and the viewpoints of our own graduates.”

With the aim of increasing the number of underrepresented, wāhine (women) faculty in STEM fields, Chang is a co-investigator on the ADVANCE Catalyst project at UH Mānoa funded by the National Science Foundation. The project is a campus self-assessment to understand the experiences of STEM wāhine (women) and other underrepresented and minority professionals for future institutional transformation strategy in diversity and gender equity.

“It shows that structural and racial barriers exist that hinder advancement in the highly valued STEM workforce. I want to move policy changes and practice forward so future STEM professionals know that UH welcomes diverse perspectives and skill sets,” said Chang.

For more see SOEST’s website.

–By Marcie Grabowski

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