July 23, 2012
HMSA Foundation invests in programs for a healthy community
The HMSA Foundation awarded $255,000 in grants to eight local health programs and
community organizations in the second quarter of this year. One of those grants
will support the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Hawaii’s John
A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) and its efforts to fight childhood obesity.
According to the American Heart Association, childhood obesity is the No. 1 health
concern among parents in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention say childhood obesity has tripled in the past 30 years. “This is
a disease,” says Mark Forman, HMSA Foundation executive administrator, “one
that could lead to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and depression if left
The U.S. Department of Agriculture started phasing in school meal standards this
month. When students return to school in August, school lunches will have both fruits
and vegetables every day in larger portions, new calorie and sodium limits, and
fat-free milk, regardless of the flavor. But healthier school meals are just one
part of the solution.
“Hawaii’s unique multicultural and geographical character creates challenges
to addressing obesity,” says Dr. May Okihiro, director of JABSOM’s Hawaii
Initiative for Childhood Obesity Research and Education (HICORE). “Grants
such as these help us to address the problem with innovative, multilevel, multidisciplinary
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.
Foundation grants are funded with annual investment income earned on its original
endowment. Health plan dues from HMSA members and employer groups are not used to
fund Foundation grants. For more information on the HMSA Foundation, visit hmsafoundation.org.
HMSA Foundation grants awarded in the second quarter included:
- Aha Kane – Foundation for the Advancement of Native Hawaiian
Males – The grant supported the Aha Kane 2012 Native Hawaiian Men’s Health
Conference, which addressed issues of Native Hawaiian male leadership and community
involvement by focusing on cultural history and the roles of Native Hawaiian men.
Health screenings were also provided to empower participants to make positive changes
in their lifestyles. Grant amount – $10,000.
- East Hawaii IPA Foundation – The grant supports the East
Hawaii IPA Annual Healthcare Symposium, entitled “Healthcare in Transition:
Current Trend.” It is scheduled for Aug. 17-19, 2012. Grant amount –
- Honolulu Theatre for Youth – The grant helps the Honolulu
Theatre for Youth adopt the award-winning novel, Call It Courage, for a
play dedicated to the social development of children. Grant amount – $25,000.
- Hospice of Hilo – The grant supports establishing a palliative
care center in their new inpatient hospice facility that will serve the entire island
of Hawaii. Grant amount – $60,000.
- Lead 4 Tomorrow – The grant supports community-based, peer-led
parenting support programs for families with children ages 0-5. Grant amount –
- Lunalilo Home – The grant supports training Lunalilo Home
staff in the latest elder care practices developed by a Harvard physician and supported
by a network of leading care homes nationwide. Grant amount – $5,000.
- Na Hoaloha/Maui Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers – The grant
supports assisted transportation for seniors with disabilities seeking health and
medical care. Grant amount – $5,000.
- University of Hawaii, JABSOM, Department of Pediatrics –
The grant will help activate and assist community leaders and organizations to create
environments that support healthy eating and active living for children and families.
Grant amount – $120,000.