We know that when talking about health, we should also consider the health and wellbeing of our ʻohana, our community, and the ‘āina. The Hawaiian framework of Mauli Ola balances our traditional concepts of the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health of our people. It further includes personal, social, economic, and environmental factors that influence health and wellbeing.
These factors are also known as the determinants of health.
Stress, discrimination, education, connection to culture, housing, and unemployment are all determinants of health. Our state law recognizes that all state agency planning should prioritize addressing these determinants to improve health and wellbeing for all, including Native Hawaiians.
Mauli Ola incorporates a holistic Kānaka ʻŌiwi understanding of health, and healthy development throughout all stages of life. By addressing community, land, and culture as well as individual health, this framework provides health equity promotion and healthy development across life span, and establishing a community and nation where people can be healthy both now and for generations to come.
Act 155 is one step towards modernizing the way we address health disparities, by providing support for state agencies that seek to include social determinants of health in their policy planning, which ultimately may lead to effective use of resources and better health outcomes for all, while ensuring communities hardest hit and most significantly affected by barriers to good health are not left behind. Due to tremendous support for this OHA package bill from the Native Hawaiian, Filipino, and Pacific Islander communities, ACT 155 (2014) HRS §226-20 successfully passed during the twenty-seventh legislative session (2014).
The purpose of the Hāna Ola Project is to implement a culturally relevant, community-based program based on health and nutrition education, and physical activity to reduce the incidence and severity of obesity among Native Hawaiians, in order to improve their overall well-being, and reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease risk factors. Participants in Hāna, Maui include keiki, ʻōpio, mākua, and kūpuna. Through the collaborative Hāna Ola Project they have increased access to health services and education as well as coordinated outdoor and ʻāina-based physical activities.
In 2009, OHA’s Board of Trustees adopted a new Strategic Plan focusing on six strategic priorities: mo‘omeheu (culture), ‘āina (land & water), ea (governance), ho‘ona‘auao (education), ho‘okahua waiwai (economic self-sufficiency), and mauli ola (health). For mauli ola, OHA seeks to improve the quality and longevity of life so Native Hawaiians will enjoy healthy lifestyles and experience reduced onset of chronic diseases. This fact sheet, the third volume of a larger series, reports on the social determinants of health related to OHA’s strategic plan.
Nā Limahana o Lonopūhā, the Native Hawaiian Health Consortium, is an integrated network of leading senior executives and health care providers committed to addressing the status of Native Hawaiian health. This consortium proposes progressive models of culture and research-based methods in implementing prevention and treatment programs among the various levels of health and wellness. The consortium comprises private, non-profit, state, academic, community health centers and community-based providers with direct and indirect services throughout the community. This collaborative network exemplifies a multi-level approach to improving health outcomes in the 21st century.
The Hawaii Physical Activity and Nutrition Plan describes strategies to increase physical activity and healthy eating, with long-term goals of reducing overweight, obesity, and chronic disease among all Hawaiʻi residents. “Healthy Policies for a Healthy Hawaiʻi” describes the ways in which the Hawai’i State Department of Health works collaboratively with stakeholders statewide to identify key strategies to create healthy environments in our communities, schools, worksites, and health systems, leading to a healthier Hawaiʻi for all.