UH School of Social Work awarded grant to serve Native Hawaiian elders

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Posted: Nov 29, 2006

Honolulu- UH School of Social Work faculty members Noreen Mokuau, Colette Browne and Kathryn Braun were awarded a $360K grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging, to establish Ha Kupuna; a national resource center for Native Hawaiian elders. One of only three federally funded Centers in the nation, the aims of Ha Kupuna are to develop and disseminate knowledge and provide technical assistance and training to improve services to Native Hawaiian elders.

In Hawaii, Native Hawaiians 50 years and older comprise 13% of the population. They experience shorter life expectancies, poorer health, greater disability, and have lower utilization of services, when compared with other multiethnic groups. In order to respond to these concerns, the Center will collaborate with Native Hawaiian elders and community leaders as well as providers of eldercare around health and long-term care preferences and patterns.

Drs. Mokuau, Browne and Braun, all co-investigators, are committed to developing a sustainable resource center on Native Hawaiian elders in order to improve the quality of their lives. According to Mokuau, Native Hawaiian elders are a vital source of cultural knowledge and wisdom. "We must dedicate ourselves to assuring the passing of ha (breath or life‘s breath) from the older to younger generations," said Mokuau. "To do so, would assure that ola na iwi (the bones live)."