HMSA Foundation Invests In Programs for A Healthy Community

Eleven local health programs and community organizations received support from the HMSA Foundation in the fourth quarter of 2012 through $668,800 in grants.

“This generous gift from the HMSA Foundation is a strong statement about their commitment to keeping our community healthy,” said Nancy Bottelo, president and chief executive officer of Special Olympics Hawai‘i.

The HMSA Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable foundation that supports efforts across the state to improve the health of Hawaii’s people. HMSA Foundation grants awarded in the fourth quarter included:

  • Aloha Medical Mission – More than 475,000 people in Hawaii have limited or no access to dental care. The Aloha Medical Mission’s Honolulu Dental Clinic will use this grant to partner with neighboring elementary schools in a dental education outreach program for kindergarten students and their parents. Regular checkups can help diagnose serious illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Grant amount – $150,000.

  • American Heart Association – The Get With The Guidelines Hawaii Stroke Workshop provides community health care providers with the latest developments on strokes, evidence-based assessments, treatment guidelines, and statistics on stroke prevalence, morbidity, and mortality. Grant amount – $5,000.

  • Hawai‘i Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice – For many Hawaii children, the only well-rounded meal they eat is the one they are served in school. This grant will support the Breakfast in the Classroom program, which increases student participation in the state’s school breakfast program. Hawai‘i Appleseed will work with the Hawaii Department of Education and three Oahu schools that have a large number of students who receive free and reduced-price school meals. Grant amount – $7,500.

  • Hawaii Health Systems Foundation – The Statewide Palliative and Hospice Care Training Program will train physicians, nurses, and social workers to deal with the pain, symptoms, and stress caused by a serious illness. This project will focus on four hospitals – the Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital on Kauai, the Kula Hospital on Maui, and the Leahi and Maluhia Hospitals on Oahu – and will expand to include acute care hospitals and long-term care facilities. The grant will help provide high-quality care to palliative care patients and their families. Grant amount – $130,000.

“This initiative aims to improve long-term care and end-of-life care for our patients and their families. It’s designed to make this training more accessible to all staff in our long-term facilities on Oahu, Kauai, and Maui,” said Bruce S. Anderson, Ph.D., Hawaii Health Systems Corporation president and chief executive officer. “We’re honored and pleased to have this opportunity to develop specialty teams that will demonstrate the highest quality patient and family-centered care for those most in need.”

  • Ka‘u Rural Health Community Association, Inc. – The Ka‘u Rural Health Academy will use this grant for a demonstration project that focuses on health, education, research opportunities, and economic sustainability. The project will include wellness activities and health screenings. Grant amount – $40,000.

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness Hawaii – The Family to Family Education Program helps families understand and cope with a family member who has a mental illness. It also helps people with a mental illness avoid becoming homeless. This grant will be used to identify and train new teachers and help teachers who need recertification. Grant amount – $30,000.

  • Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific – This facility provides intensive and skilled rehabilitation for patients recovering from spinal cord injury, brain injury, amputation, and other major injuries and helps patients improve their self-help, mobility, and communication skills. The grant will support the renovation of the facility to create new exam rooms for physiatrists. Grant amount – $100,000.

  • Special Olympics Hawai‘i – Adults and children with intellectual disabilities are one step closer to having a world-class facility that will bring together athletes. The Hawai‘i Sports and Wellness Center will be a place where they can get health screenings, physical exams, and vision testing. It will also be the stage where they can showcase their athletic abilities.

“The Special Olympics Hawai‘i Sports and Wellness Center will create – for the first time in Hawaii – an inclusive training and competition environment designed specifically for people with intellectual disabilities,” said Nancy Bottelo, president and chief executive officer of Special Olympics Hawai‘i.

“Special Olympics Hawai‘i and the HMSA Foundation share the mission of improving the health of one of Hawaii’s most underserved populations. It is a mistaken belief that people with intellectual disabilities receive the same or better health care than others. In reality, it is not unusual for them to receive substandard health care or no care at all.”

This center will help Special Olympics Hawai‘i expand their relationships with many health care providers in Hawaii and help them train other service providers to take programs back to their communities. Grant amount – $100,000.

  • The Arc of Hilo – This grant supports the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program to expand its community support services program and provide workshops on diabetes prevention and management, cardiac rehabilitation, asthma, and other health-related issues for clients, families, and the community. Grant amount – $4,300.

  • University of Hawai‘i Foundation – The Hawai‘i State Center for Nursing convened health care professionals to discuss the Academic Progression in Nursing grant from the Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ) Foundation. The Center provided a progress report of the Hawai‘i Action Coalition successes over the past year and RWJ provided an update of the national efforts. Grant amount – $2,000.

  • University of Hawai‘i Maui College – The Oral Health for Native Hawaiian Prenatal Mothers and Children program helps young children and pregnant women on Maui. Program participants learn culturally appropriate ways to provide oral health educational sessions in schools. They also learn to administer health screenings at churches and health fairs. Grant amount – $100,000.

“It is well documented that early identification and treatment of oral health disease is a cost-effective way to reduce school absences, emergency room visits, diseases like diabetes and hypertension, and the tragedy of preterm births,” said Nancy Johnson, Allied Health department chair at University of Hawaii Maui College. “The vast majority of individuals do not realize they have dental disease and the potential consequences.”

The HMSA Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt private charitable organization. It was founded in Hawaii in 1986 as a public foundation with the goal of stimulating research aimed at some of the pressing issues that confronted Hawaii’s health care industry. In 1997, the Foundation was converted to a private foundation to allow for larger contributions from donors, such as HMSA.

The mission of the HMSA Foundation is to extend HMSA’s commitment to provide community access to cost-effective health care services, promote health, provide health education and relevant research, and improve social welfare in Hawaii.

Health plan dues from HMSA members and employer groups are not used to fund Foundation grants. Foundation grants are funded with annual investment income earned on its original endowment. For more information on the HMSA Foundation, visit