Health Policy Initiative

College of Social Sciences

University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa 

Achieving Health Equity for Hawaiʻi through Active Inclusion, Accessible Programs, and Adoptable Policies

In partnership with UHealthy Hawaiʻi, the Health Policy Initiative (HPI) facilitates research and dissemination of health policy recommendations in the State of Hawaiʻi and the Pacific Region.

A number of factors uniquely contribute to health and quality of life in Hawaiʻi and the Pacific, such as cultural strengths, access to ocean and greenspace, strong community bonds, and progressive legislation. However, residents of Hawaiʻi and the Pacific also experience high rates of health disparities, chronic illness, and vulnerabilities due to geographic, ecological, and political factors.

Poor health impacts the quality and duration of individual lives, as well as business, government, and the economy. The purpose of the HPI is to ameliorate health problems in Hawaiʻi and the Pacific by advancing equitable, evidence-based health policies and programs.

The Health Policy Initiative aims to:

This work is centered around specific content areas outlined in the Health Research to Policy Framework, in partnership with faculty at the University of Hawai‘i, Social Science Research Research Institute,  and the College of Social Sciences.

Our process includes the support of (1) the CSS Grant Development Office to obtain funding, (2) access to community and health-related data, and (3) faculty expertise. This foundation allows our team to implement programs, disseminate findings and communicate with key stakeholders to maximize local, national, and international impact. 

College of Social Sciences and affiliated faculty have secured more than $150 million in extramural funding in the last decade and published thousands of peer-reviewed manuscripts. 

The Health Policy Initiative leverages data obtained through the private and public sector, including data aligned with the Hawaiʻi All-Payer Claims Database and federally support research.

Addressing Healthy People 2030 Objectives

HPI addresses Healthy People 2030 objectives by researching, implementing, evaluating, and reporting on programs that consider the five social determinants of health domains. Each of these  domains are addressed through on-going collaborations with state, federal, and non-profit organizations. The NIH Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion defines the Healthy People 2030 Priority area of Social Determinants of health to include:

The HPI identifies and addresses the following Health People objectives:

Economic Stability

Reduce the proportion of persons living in poverty 

Reduce the proportion of families that spend more than 30 percent of income on housing

Reduce household food insecurity and hunger  

Eliminate very low food security in children

Reduce work-related injuries resulting in missed work days — OSH‑02 

Education Access and Quality

Health Care Access and Quality

Neighborhood and Built Environment

Social and Community Context

Implementation, Dissemination & Communication

Traditional academic research often fails in maximizing its potential impact. The HPI aims to conduct applied research with real-world implications and then disseminate findings directly to key stakeholders in the community, as well as appearing in rigorously evaluated peer-reviewed journals.  Please see some highlighted work here, peer-reviewed papers here, and social service-related reports here. Additional background on research being conducted in the College of Social Sciences can be found here

Our Work is Intentionally Collaborative

Collaboration is the core of the Health Policy Initiative. We have established ongoing work with key non-profit organizations, state agencies, and legislators.