Big Isle wellness program launches with 17 projects


The Hawaii Island Beacon Community (HIBC) has selected 17 community-based projects for its Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) Program aiming to effect positive changes in people’s eating, physical activity and tobacco use habits.

Supported by approximately $300,000 of HIBC’s federal funding, the HEAL Projects will run through February 2013 and directly reach over 15,000 Hawaii Island residents in all regions, of all ages, from diverse ethnic groups—including those most at risk.

“We received numerous applications for the HEAL Program from all communities, demonstrating that the people of Hawaii Island are ready to make healthy living a priority,” said Susan B. Hunt, MHA, project director and CEO of HIBC. “We are proud to support 17 HEAL Projects that will deliver innovative, targeted outreach into the communities where it is needed most. As HIBC witnesses and supports the growth of a movement to improve health and health care, we hope to catalyze even greater synergy among organizations and advance the development of long-term solutions.”

The HEAL Program kicks off with a mandatory health literacy training day on March 15, 2012 for the leaders from all HEAL Projects. Throughout the year, updates and testimonials will be posted at

“The vision for the HEAL Projects is that they will build momentum and be impactful because they have been specifically developed by population and geography,” said Jessica Yamamoto, community engagement manager for HIBC. “They are run by organizations and staff who are themselves a part of their community and have a deep understanding of that community’s needs.”

The 17 HEAL Projects are:

  • Big Island Babes Junior Roller Derby (Paradise Roller Girls): Introduction to roller derby with safety equipment provided
  • Building a Garden and Doing Physical Activities to Improve Healthy Eating and Physical Fitness (Hawaii County Economic Opportunity Council HCEOC): Six-week summer program for students in grades 3-6 and their families
  • Eat-Think-Grow: Nutritional Education for School Garden Teachers on Hawaii Island (The Kohala Center, Inc.): Workshops and courses for teachers, education events and food festivals
  • Environmental Tobacco Smoke: Office-Based Strategies for Prevention and Intervention (Children’s Research Triangle): Education and prevention campaign to reduce tobacco smoking in families
  • Get Fit Hawaii 2012 (Five Mountains Hawaii): Ten-week, team-based Take It Off Hawaii program modified for teens
  • Hana Ka Lima (Social Sciences Department at the University of Hawaii at Hilo): Seminars, classes, workshops, tours and fitness activities for at-risk and lowincome teens from the Hilo High School Lanakila Learning Center
  • Healthy Families/Healthy Children (Neighborhood Place of Puna): Education, home visits and hands-on projects to prevent child abuse/neglect and encourage healthy eating
  • The HHDC Healthy Abundance Project (Hilo-Hamakua Development Corporation – HHDC): Community education to facilitate local food production
  • Huli Ka Lima Ilalo (Kū I Ka Pono): After-school gardening program for students and their families
  • Ka Ohana Mahiai (Makuu Farmers Association): Workshops to increase fresh fruit and vegetable consumption by families in the Makuu Homestead area of Puna
  • Keeping Keiki Kicking (Kahoomiki): Program to increase the physical activity of elementary school students
  • Mahi A Ai Cultivate Health and Wellness Project (Mahi A Ai, LLC): Ten-week, hands-on course to teach at-risk teens how to grow and cook healthy food while incorporating more exercise into their lives
  • Marshallese Mobile Screening Clinic – MMSC (College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawaii at Hilo): Health screenings, health education and access to affordable health care for Marshallese families, adults and youth
  • Mothers on the Move – MOM (Family Support Hawaii): Program to promote appropriate physical activity for low-income pregnant and new mothers and their young children
  • Volunteer Counseling and Health Screenings (National Community Pharmacists Association Student Chapter at the College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawaii at Hilo): Free counseling on diet/lifestyle changes and health screenings provided by student pharmacists for community members to better manage chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia
  • Sowing Seeds (Naalehu Elementary School): Hands-on projects, gardening and other activities to teach elementary school students the skills and judgment to make healthier eating choices
  • What About Tobacco (WAT) Youth Prevention Project (Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii): Certified course to teach fourth grade students the risks of tobacco

Hawaii Island Beacon Community (HIBC) is an island-wide federally funded collaborative project administered through the College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, working to improve health care on Hawai‘i Island. Through technology, clinical transformation, and outreach, HIBC is committed to improving the health of Hawai‘i Island residents and empowering them to be more actively involved in their own health. For more information, visit

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