5 Things Hawaii: Economic recovery, Vaccine rollout, 2021 session

We are looking forward to “seeing” so many of you next week at the 2021 Hawaii State of Reform Health Policy Conference! Of course, this year’s event will be virtual. So, it will be different from years past. But it’s always good to reconnect with our Hawaii ohana, in whatever form we are able to!

So, I wanted to tee up for you some of the sessions and speakers we have lined up for you next week on the 14th. I think you’ll find some great names among our speakers, folks who we represent some of the more thoughtful voices in Hawaii’s health care community.





With help from Emily Boerger

1. Getting Hawaii’s Economy Back to its Feet

The challenge of economic recovery from the COVID pandemic requires careful coordination and integration between the health care sector and the broader community. On January 14th, this panel of some of Hawaii’s most senior civic and health care leaders will discuss the data, initiatives and strategies in place to support a broad, statewide recovery in 2021.

We’ll hear from Ray Vara, President and CEO of Hawaii Pacific Health, Peter Ho, Chairman, President and CEO of Bank of Hawaii, and Mark Mugiishi, MD, President and CEO of HMSA. These three leaders are all members of the House Select Committee on COVID-19 Economic and Financial Preparedness and have been integral to economic recovery conversations since the start of the pandemic.


2. Pūpūkahi i holomua

The Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander Hawaiʻi COVID-19 Response, Recovery & Resilience Team (NHPI 3R) was established — in alignment with the national NHPI Response Team — to improve the reporting of accurate data. It also works to identify and lend support to initiatives across the Hawaiian Islands working to address COVID-19 among Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders It’s also working to establish a presence in the decision-making processes and policies that impact communities. In this panel, team leaders will draw upon lessons learned, recommendations, and opportunities for health care leaders to engage with their NHPI stakeholders.

Halaevalu Vakalahi, PhD, Dean of the College of Health and Society at Hawaii Pacific University, and J. Keaw’aimoku Kaholokula, PhD, Chair of the Department of Native Hawaiian Health, John Burns School of Medicine, will offer their insights on this panel. Sheri Daniels, Executive Director of Papa Ola Lokahi, and Josie Howard, Program Director at We Are Oceania, will also join the conversation. Kealoha Fox, PhD, Senior Manager, Social Health Integration at AlohaCare will moderate the discussion.


3. Legislators discuss the 2021 Session

Our “Legislators Discuss the 2021 Session” panel at the conference next week will include some of Hawaii’s most thoughtful policymakers working at the intersection of health care and public policy. Committee organization and membership will look different next session, and this panel will include chairs of some of the key committees tasked with navigating both health reform and managing the impacts of the public health pandemic.

Joining us will be Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole, Chair of the Senate Health Committee, Rep. Linda Ichiyama, Chair of the House Pandemic & Disaster Preparedness Committee, and Rep. Ryan Yamane, Chair of the House Health, Human Services & Homelessness Committee. Bring your questions to what will be a forward-looking and insightful conversation.

4. Social Determinants and Community Based Partnerships

As awareness increases about the role social determinants play in health status, it’s clear these impacts are differentiated across demographics. As social, economic and other pressures build from a tumultuous 2020, we’ll hear how community partnerships are helping re-shape the conversation in 2021 to better focus on health across a range of demographic cohorts.

Our panelists will come to the issue from a variety of angles, offering their thoughts on where opportunities may lie to leverage this emerging understanding. Speaking on our “Social Determinants and Community Based Partnerships” panel is Senator Stanley Chang, Chair of the Senate Committee on Housing, Marcus Iwane, MD, Clinic Chief at Kaiser Permanente, and Andy Mounthongdy, Executive Director of H4.


5. The Mechanics and Politics of COVID Vaccines

As vaccines roll out throughout the state, issues of health equity, logistics, cost and access all take on new urgency. Our Afternoon Keynote at the 2021 Hawaii State of Reform Virtual Health Policy Conference will discuss the mechanics and politics involved in the delivery and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in Hawaii.

We have a smart panel to talk through these topics including Lieutenant Governor Josh Green, MD, Tarquin Collis, MD, Chief of the Department of Infectious Diseases & Medical Specialties at Kaiser Permanente, Michael Dutro, PharmD, Vaccines Medical Director, HI, CA & NM, at Pfizer, and Steven Hankins, MD, Lead Coordinator at State of Hawaii ESF8- Public Health & Medical Services.