Categorized | Health

Community charts health strategies at mayor’s conference


More than 400 residents and healthcare professionals gathered today at Hawaii County’s 2010 Healthcare Conference to chart a new path to solutions for some of the most pressing health care challenges in the county.

Participants from across the island focused on urgent healthcare issues such as access to care and the shortage of healthcare providers in rural areas.

“The tremendous support shown by health care professionals, consumers and conference participants from all segments of our community shows that we now have the resources and the determination to advance toward real solutions,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi. “Our community came together today to chart a collective strategy, and it was very clear we all share the same goals. Today’s discussions will play a vital role as we work to improve healthcare on Hawaii Island.”

“I am grateful for the community’s participation, and I know our work together will help build a healthier future for our island,” said Mayor Kenoi.

The conference also formally introduced the Hawaii County Beacon Grant, a $16 million federally funded initiative to accelerate the use of health information technology to reduce costs and improve the quality of healthcare in the county.

The Beacon Grant was awarded to a consortium that includes Hawaii County, the University of Hawaii at Hilo School of Pharmacy and Hawaii Medical Services Association along with island hospitals, clinics physicians and community groups.

Kenoi said Hawaii County was one of just 15 communities in the United States selected for Beacon Community Program awards, giving the island an opportunity to become a model for the state and the nation.

Conference speakers included Robert P. Hiam, the president and CEO of the Hawaii Medical Services Association; Joan Danieley, a vice president at Kaiser Foundation Health Plan; and Karen Pellegrin, project director of the Beacon Grant and associate specialist faculty member at the University of Hawaii at Hilo College of Pharmacy.

The conference keynote speaker was Katherine Gottlieb, winner of a nationally prestigious MacArthur Foundation “Genius Award,” who described the vast improvements in healthcare Native Alaskans experienced by better integrating their cultural identity into the delivery of services.

The afternoon was devoted to panel discussions and energetic small group sessions designed to exchange ideas, built relationships and outline specific steps to improving the healthcare system in the County of Hawaii.

The conference and the results of the small group discussions will be posted online at the County of Hawaii Mayor’s News Web site at

The event was free to the public thanks to sponsors Hawaii Medical Service Association, Kaiser Permanente, AlohaCare, Longs Drugs, Hilo Medical Center, Kona Community Hospital and North Hawaii Community Hospital.

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