Health Policy Initiative

College of Social Sciences

University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

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.

Specifically, the Health Policy Initiative aims to:

  • Foster collaboration among UHM and government agencies (e.g., the Hawaiʻi Department of Health and Department of Human Services) to address emerging and chronic health issues via rapid translation of faculty research and participation in working groups;

  • Advance understanding of the causes and consequences of poor health and wellness in Hawai‘i and in the Pacific Region using diverse research methods;

  • Evaluate existing health and social programs to identify and recommend best practices;

  • Craft innovative, research-supported policies and initiatives aimed at improving health and decreasing costs; and

  • Build the capacity of the State’s workforce and develop future health leaders by providing opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to work directly with State departments and agencies.

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.

Two Current Focal Areas

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.

Data Center

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.

Faculty Research

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.

Implementation, Dissemination & Communication

Traditional academic research often fails in maximizing its 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.

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.