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Hazel-Lyn Jarquio
Hazel-Lyn Jarquio

Hazel-lyn Jarquio is dedicated to making a tangible impact in her community, one dental care lesson at a time. On the cusp of earning her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa this spring, Jarquio’s passion for pediatric health and her commitment to serving her community converge in her DNP project, an educational video aimed at addressing the prevalence of cavities among young children in Hawaiʻi.

kids in classroom watching a video
Head Start students watch Jarquioʻs video.

“Cavities are the most common early childhood disease in the United States, and Hawaiʻi is no exception,” Jarquio explained. “About 60% of Hawaiʻi Head Start children between 3 and 5 years old have already experienced cavities.”

Hawaiʻi Head Start is a federally funded program that delivers services to children and families in core areas of early learning, health and family well-being while engaging parents as partners every step of the way. Jarquio collaborated with the program and UH Mānoa nursing and dental hygiene faculty. Together they developed an easy-to-follow handout and video that is being shown and used by students, parents and teachers throughout the state. The short video features friendly animated characters “Dr. Kai” and “Samual,” who break down the importance of oral health and provide useful tips and food choices to prevent cavities.

Check out more stories of our UH spring graduates

“I believe that in order to improve the oral health of our keiki, I need to start by educating the children and educating families about how cavities are made, how we can practice cavity prevention, and just going over appropriate snack choices to avoid cavities,” Jarquio said. “The materials were designed to resonate with families and educators of Hawaiʻi Head Start.”

Jarquio with poster board
Jarquio presents her DNP project.

“Hazel’s project is a perfect example of how evidence-based education can be translated into a cute informative video that local families and kids will appreciate,” said Deborah Mattheus, Jarquio’s academic advisor and nursing professor at the Nancy Atmospera-Walch School of Nursing (NAWSON). Mattheus is also the senior practice director for the Hawaiʻi Keiki: Healthy & Ready to Learn Program that provides school nursing services to all Hawaiʻi State Department of Education (HIDOE) public schools and a few select public charter schools. “Hazel’s oral health video and flyer were so well received by Head Start Hawaiʻi, that we requested and received approval to distribute her materials to all HIDOE elementary schools next fall. Hazel’s DNP project will reach and educate thousands of keiki across the islands.”

Bridging dreams with reality

jarquio in grad gown

Jarquio has always had aspirations of becoming a nurse, which she steadfastly pursued. Her DNP will be her third degree from UH Mānoa. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies in 2019. She later enrolled into the Graduate Entry Program in Nursing at NAWSON, earning her bachelor of science in nursing in 2021, before embarking on her DNP program.

“Becoming a nurse practitioner has always been the end goal for my career,” she said. “I wanted to challenge myself and take things to the next level by applying research and investigation skills in practice.”

Now, as she inches closer to completing her DNP, Jarquio reflects on her journey with pride. She hopes to stay and practice in Hawaiʻi, caring for the pediatric and/or the young adult population.

—by Arlene Abiang

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