he University of Hawai‘i at Manoa is set to receive millions to help eliminate coronavirus disparities among the state’s vulnerable populations, including Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.
US Senator Brian Schatz announced Monday that Hawai‘i will be the beneficiary of $3,400,883 in federal funding from the Department of Health and Human Services in the name of this cause. The funds will be used by UH to increase COVID-19 testing and disseminate coronavirus educational curriculum to schools in rural and underserved communities.
“We must use every public health intervention available to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our vulnerable populations, and especially to reduce the disparities we’ve seen in the Pacific Islander community,” Schatz said. “By expanding access to COVID-19 testing and teaching preventative practices to students in rural areas, this grant will help us keep more Hawai‘i families safe. I’m proud that UH is leading this effort to bring additional resources to areas that need it most.”
UH will use the new funds to expand testing and outreach programs that have been successful at Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center to four additional community health centers: Waimanalo Health Center on O‘ahu; the Bay Clinic Inc. and Hamakua-Kohala Health Center on Hawaiʻi Island, and the Molokai Community Health Center.
At the same time, UH will disseminate COVID-19 educational curriculum to community schools to empower students and families to implement preventative practices, encourage testing, and help reduce infections.