Friday, May 11, 2018 from Kat Brady

Today we bring you two items:

1)     A press release from the Governor announcing Dr. Presslerʻs retirement, effective  6.1.18; and

2)     A publication from OHA entitled HAUMEA that explores exemplary assets, strengths, and wisdom of Native Hawaiian females and their mana according to traditional Hawaiian culture.

Governor Ige appoints Bruce Anderson as interim health director following retirement of Dr. Virginia Pressler


HONOLULU – Gov. David Ige announced today the interim appointment of Bruce Anderson, Ph.D., to lead the Hawaiʻi State Department of Health following the June 1retirement of Dr. Virginia “Ginny” Pressler who has served as the director of health since December 2014.

In a letter to the governor dated May 4, 2018, Dr. Pressler outlined the department’s accomplishments over the past three and a half years and noted that she’s retiring to devote more time to family and friends and the activities she’s not had time for because she was too busy working.

Anderson, who has served as administrator of the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Aquatic Resources since October 2015, reprises his role as director of health, having served in the position during the Cayetano administration. He has also served as president of the Oceanic Institute and president and chief executive officer of Hawaiʻi Health Systems Corporation. Anderson has more than 30 years of experience in managing health and environmental protection programs in the State of Hawaiʻi.

Anderson was born and raised in Hawaiʻi. He went to Punahou School on Oʻahu, Colorado College, and Yale University, where he received his master’s degree in Public Health. Anderson also has a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from the University of Hawaiʻi.

“After more than two decades with the Department of Health and his previous experience as director, Bruce will be able to hit the ground running and effectively support and lead existing initiatives,” said Gov. Ige. “Ginny Pressler has been an outstanding leader who has contributed much to the health of the people in Hawaiʻi during her years of public service. She has much to be proud of, and I wish her well in retirement. I know she’ll continue to be an active member of our community,” he added.

“I appreciate the governor’s consideration and look forward to returning to the Department of Health to serve as director,” said Anderson. “I have enjoyed working with Chair Case and the outstanding team of biologists and others at the Division of Aquatic Resources. My first years in public service were at the Department of Health, and I also enjoyed working with the dedicated team of health professionals there. I feel like I’m going back to my roots now. I am excited to have this opportunity to serve the state in protecting both the health and environment of the people of Hawaiʻi.”

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as director of health as part of Gov. Ige’s team,” said Dr. Virginia Pressler. “I accepted the appointment three and a half years ago because I wanted to give back to the state that I love so much. I also knew and admired Gov. Ige as a person of integrity. I knew that we could make a difference in public health and I have not been disappointed. I am very proud of what we have accomplished in a few short years. Now it is time for me to spend more time with my family and my friends.”

Haumea: Transforming the Health of Native Hawaiian Women and Empowering Wāhine Well-Being

Executive Summary: (2 pages)

Full Report: (134 pages)

This primer explores exemplary assets, strengths, and wisdom of Native Hawaiian females and their mana according to traditional Hawaiian culture. Yet today, wāhine experience various inequities across different generations of pēpē, keiki, mākua, and  kūpuna that cannot continue to be ignored. The health of Native Hawaiian females is influenced by contemporary indicators of wellness embraced by social determinants of health initiatives. This report is a call to action in order to improve the health of our next generation of wāhine: we must continue to advocate for better methods of integrating cultural values and resiliency across state agencies, uplifting community-based programming and expert coalitions. Major content has been organized into six chapters, each with a consistent framework that begins with an overview of the roles of wāhine in Hawaiian society and historical strengths that contributed to thriving communities while hearing from wāhine leaders by means of testimonials. Direct recommendations for equity efforts across all sectors, in all policies, should lead a movement which prioritizes women and girls in the 21st century while simultaneously honoring their indigenity as the ʻōiwi across the kaiwahine. Read the summary of the Haumea Report, become involved in the discussion, and learn more.

Grounded in the Kūkulu Hou Methodology, this report explores the traditional role of wāhine in Native Hawaiian society and culture. It transitions through contemporary social indicators which impact wāhine at present. Traditionally, Native Hawaiian women contributed to their communities and ‘ohana on multiple levels, but social, political, and economic changes in Hawaiʻi have transformed many ways which wāhine integrate their well-being in Hawaiian culture. The ensuing disconnect from cultural practices, from  ʻohana, and with ‘āina led to further disruption in wāhine health. Thus, affecting the overall wellness of the Hawaiian community.  Today we understand the social determinants of health affect wāhine across generations in terms of physical health, mental and emotional well-being, partner violence, incarceration, economic well-being,  leadership, and civic engagement. To reactivate and revitalize the role of wāhine in Native Hawaiian communities, advocacy across various agencies and organizations is necessary to achieve improved cultural integration in programs and organizations with community-based programming that impact our Native Hawaiian females. We invite you to read the Haumea Report to learn more and consider solutions to transform the health of wāhine.

 I haven’t had time to read the entire report, but what I did read was really great.

Love, Kat

“I raise up my voice—not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard…

we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.”

Malala Yousafzai