Who is Hui Pohala?
Hui Pohala is a growing coalition of diverse stakeholders working to improve access to high quality palliative care throughout Hawaii.
Our Mission is to serve as a catalyst and convener to improve access to high quality palliative care.
Our Vision is for the people of Hawaii with serious illness to have access to high quality, team based, person centered palliative care, in the setting they prefer.
- Equity – Reducing health disparities
- Honoring patients’ choices
- Compassion, Respect and Kindness
How did we get started?
Hui Pohala was launched as a result of the call to action emerging from the first Hawaii State Palliative Care Summit held in April 2020 with over 120 diverse stakeholders. Summit presentations clearly showed the advantages of palliative care to patients, families, and caregivers as well as the associated reduction in unwanted care. Summit participants highlighted large gaps in access to high quality home-based palliative care statewide, as well as the negative impact of that gap. A broad consensus on the need for expanding access was reached during the summit. The Summit Report describes key barriers to expanding access identified during the summit. Hui Pohala is organizing and convening work teams to address these barriers.
Following the Summit a core group of healthcare champions stepped forward to build a coalition to significantly improve access to high quality palliative care. Initial core supporters of the growing coalition include Kōkua Mau, John A. Burns School of Medicine, Chaminade School of Nursing, Queen’s Health Systems and the Hawaii State Department of Health.
Initial Core Supporters of Hui Pohala
Kōkua Mau – A Movement to Improve Care
Kōkua Mau is a statewide network dedicated to improving care and support for those with serious illness and their loved ones. We are Hawaii’s trusted source for accurate information on Advance Care Planning (ACP) including Advance Directives and POLST as well as palliative care, hospice care and grief and bereavement support in Hawaii. (Kōkua Mau means ‘Continuous Care’ in Hawaiian.)
“Palliative care offers the opportunity to provide excellent care for those with serious illness and their loved ones. After many years of joint efforts, we are at a tipping point in Hawaii to make this a reality.”Jeannette Koijane, Executive Director of Kokua Mau
John A. Burns School of Medicine, (JABSOM)
“Palliative care is an essential service to provide to patients with serious illness and should be viewed as preventive care to avoid suffering and pain for those with advanced illness. Everyone should have the same opportunities for support and care, regardless of insurance or geography.”Dr. Lee Ellen Buenconsejo-Lum, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health at JABSOM
Chaminade School of Nursing
“Access to high-quality palliative care is essential for all of us in Hawaii. Delivery of outstanding palliative care is supported by effective education and resources for health care professionals, patients and families, and community members. At Chaminade School of Nursing and Health Professions, we are dedicated to providing education and developing resources to support this important work.”Rhoberta J. Haley, PhD, RN, Dean and Professor School of Nursing and Health Professions
Queen’s Health Systems
“Promoting the value of and helping increase access to palliative care is vital to the people of Hawaii. I support the increased ability to provide patients relief from pain and other symptoms of a serious illness and to improve quality of life, no matter the diagnosis or stage of disease.”Mia Taylor, MSN, APRN-Rx, Director of Community & Post-Acute Care Services, The Queen’s Health Systems
Hawaii State Department of Health, (DOH)
“DOH recognizes the need for palliative care as an option for Hawaii’s residents and looks forward to our community’s adoption as a standard of care. We are pleased to work with community groups like Hui Pohala which are committed to collaboration with diverse stakeholders to benefit the people of Hawaii.“Lorrin Kim, Chief, Department of Health, Office of Planning, Policy, and Program Development
Hui Pohala Leadership Team
Dr. Lee Ellen Buenconsejo-Lum
Dr. Lee Ellen Buenconsejo-Lum is a Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health at JABSOM. She maintains a small panel of patients in the University’s Family Medicine Faculty Practice, and despite her heavy administrative duties, remains active in teaching to strengthen the various learning environments for JABSOM’s medical learners.
Administratively, since 2016, Dr. Buenconsejo-Lum serves as the Designated Institutional Official and Director of Graduate Medical Education (GME), responsible for the oversight and administration of the 19 JABSOM residency and fellowship programs. She is now the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs (ADAA), responsible for addressing strategic educational program development and alignment across all pre-clinical and clinical departments.
Dr. Buenconsejo-Lum’s scholarly activities focus on reducing health disparities in Hawai‘i and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands jurisdictions. She is the Principal Investigator for the Pacific Regional Central Cancer Registry and co-PI for the Pacific Regional Comprehensive Cancer Control Program.
Dr. Rhoberta Haley
Dr. Rhoberta Haley is currently the Dean and Professor, for the School of Nursing and Health Professions at the Chaminade University of Honolulu. She is an experienced academic leader who has served as a Campus President, Chief Academic Officer, School of Nursing Dean/Director, and in a variety of leadership roles in health professions academic programs. As a faculty member, she has taught all levels of nursing education. Her scholarly interests include the diffusion of innovations into clinical practice and the access and utilization of healthcare by vulnerable patients.
A registered nurse for more than 40 years and a family nurse practitioner since 1982, Dr. Haley has focused on the primary care of patients who are vulnerable, including adults and families who are experiencing homelessness as well as adults who are frail and elderly. She has accepted more than 300 nurse practitioner and health professions students.
Jeannette G. Koijane, MPH
Jeannette G. Koijane is the Executive Director of Kōkua Mau, a statewide network of organizations and individuals leading a movement to make advance care planning and open communication about care and support for those with serious illness and their loved ones, including end-of-life care, the cultural norm. Jeannette has worked for over 30 years to build communities where people are well cared for, including those with serious illness, beginning with the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco and internationally. Jeannette also works with the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands developing palliative care programs with the UH Cancer Center and JABSOM.
“Palliative care offers the opportunity to provide excellent care for those with serious illness and their loved ones. After many years of joint efforts, we are at a tipping point in Hawaii to make this a reality.”
Dr. Rae Seitz
Dr. Rae Seitz is a Harvard trained palliative medicine specialist who led the development of home-based palliative care on behalf of both Kaiser Permanente Hawaii and HMSA. Dr. Seitz is an educator and speaker about palliative medicine and palliative care in Hawaii, nationally, and internationally.
In 2013 Dr. Seitz was recognized as one of 30 visionaries in palliative care by the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and remains committed to expanding capacity for high quality palliative care in Hawaii.
Hermina “Mia” Taylor, RN, MSN, FNP-BC, APRN-RX
Hermina “Mia” Taylor is a Family Nurse Practitioner with 34 years of nursing and leadership experience in both inpatient and outpatient settings including oncology, critical care, infectious diseases, care management, and hospice and palliative care. Prior to joining The Queen’s Health Systems in 2015, she was a nurse practitioner with St. Francis Hospice.
Mia’s time at The Queen’s Health System has been devoted to the development of community-based clinical programs as part of the Queen’s Clinically Integrated Physician Network/ACO. Her current role as the Director of Community & Post-Acute Care Services has allowed her to be involved in the development of a post-acute strategy that emphasizes ambulatory growth and community partnerships to improve patient access to high quality care and resources across the continuum.
Dr. Sharon Vitousek
Dr. Sharon Vitousek is a board-certified internist who trained in Honolulu and practiced on the Big Island for 20 years. She was a founding board member of the North Hawaii Community Hospital and HHIC, a state-wide hospital discharge database. She led the North Hawaii Outcomes Project which measured the health of North Hawaii and Hawaii County and worked with stakeholders to improve community health in areas where there were disparities.
“I am committed to improving serious illness care in Hawaii because I see the failings of the current healthcare system to care for people with serious illness as unacceptable. I know we can do better. By expanding access to high-quality palliative care, more people with serious illness will receive the kind of care we all want for ourselves and our ohana.”
Dr. Warren Wong
Dr. Warren Wong is a Clinical Professor of Geriatric Medicine at JABSOM and has dedicated his professional life to the care of older adults. He was a national physician lead for Kaiser Permanente’s Care Management Institute. Dr. Wong spent a year at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) as a Merck Fellow.
“Ever since I applied to med school long ago, I’ve always felt that providing excellent care is way more than understanding how to diagnose and manage disease. Our hearts must be in taking care of people. I’m excited to continue the battle to change the system.”
The Leadership Group is deeply grateful to Crystal Costa, lead project manager through JABSOM, and Adam Haley for project management assistance through Chaminade School of Nursing. Your cat-herding skills are legendary!
The Leadership Group is also grateful to the many champions who helped launch the effort to catalyze care transformation for the seriously ill of our ohana, including Takeshi Uemura, MD, Geoff Galbraith, MD, and Daniel Fischberg, MD.
Additional thanks to:
- Hope Young of Kokua Mau for her administrative assistance
- Dr. Kalani Brady for his guidance with the selection of our group name
- Mike Nomura of Nomura Design for his help with the Hui Pohala logo design
- Nathan Hokama of Strategic Communication Solutions for his assistance with communication planning
- Beth Hood of Websites with Aloha for the website design
- ACP Decisions for sharing the use of their video about palliative care