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What do you feel is the greatest issue facing your home neighborhood? This is one of the questions in a statewide survey being conducted by University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa researchers, in partnership with the State of Hawaiʻi—and they need your help!

land and blue sky

Understanding Hawaiʻi residents’ needs and everyday challenges are necessary to develop public policies and programs that improve our quality of life. Survey results will help to identify challenges you may face where you work, live and play.

The anonymous survey is short (roughly 15 minutes to complete) and will inform critical areas, such as disaster preparedness, safety in our communities, workplace wellness and access to healthcare. All residents aged 18 and above are asked to complete the questionnaire.

Responses to the survey will lead to the development of publicly available reports that include policy and programmatic recommendations addressing everything from food and housing security to education and service needs. The deadline for completion of the survey is March 31.

“The survey gives us the opportunity to hear directly from the people of Hawaiʻi regarding what it is like to grow, work, live and age in our communities,” said Jack Barile, principal investigator, professor of psychology and director of the Social Science Research Institute at UH Mānoa. “The goal is to identify residents’ strengths and challenges at home and in their communities, and to utilize this information to drive the development of programs and policies that meet people’s needs throughout the state.”

Green Administration hopes data will lead to change

The project is funded by and conducted in partnership with the Office of Wellness and Resilience, housed in the Office of the Governor. According to Gov. Josh Green, findings from these efforts will help policymakers evaluate the status of vital topics affecting the quality of life and well-being, in and across the state.

Barile’s research team will create publicly available dashboards and reports to better inform legislative activity, funding needs, population-specific programming, coordination of cross-department efforts and individual and system-level outcomes.

The study has been approved by the UH Institutional Review Board, and is part of a larger partnership between the Health Policy Initiative, housed in the UH Mānoa College of Social Sciences, and the Governor’s Office of Wellness and Resilience.

Trauma-informed state

The surveys on health and quality of life are the first step toward helping Hawaiʻi become a trauma-informed state. Gov. Green signed Executive Order 4696, February 20, directing all state departments to collaborate with the Office of Wellness and Resilience to integrate trauma-informed care principles, such as safety, transparency and peer support, into our workplaces and services. Becoming a trauma-informed state will help mitigate the impacts of Adverse Childhood Experiences and trauma, and build resilience in our families, communities and state workforce.

Tia R. Hartsock, executive director of the Office of Wellness and Resilience, is an alumna of the master of social work program in the Thompson School of Social Work & Public Health. Also on the task force are: Jillian Freitas, program director at Ka Malu a Waʻahila in UH Mānoa’s John A. Burns School of Medicine; and Aimee Chung (ex officio member), a social work faculty member.

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