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Nurturing the ‘ohana: Lessons learned from developing an intergenerational heart healthy curriculum for kupuna and Native Hawaiian elementary school children

Judy Mikami, RN, MPH, CDE1, Juliana Tu, MS, CHES2, Matilde Alvarado, RN, MSN3, Robinson Fulwood, PhD, MSPH4, and Gregory J. Morosco, PhD, MPH4. (1) Kulana 'Oiwi, Na Pu'uwai, 604 Maunaloa Highway, Kaunakakai, HI 96748, 808-553-5603, jsm@aloha.net, (2) Office of Prevention, Education, and Control, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 31 Center Drive, Suite 4A10, MSC 2480, Bethesda, MD 20892-2480, (3) National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Office of Prevention, Education, and Control, 31 Center Drive, MSC 2480, Room 4A-16, Bethesda, MD 20892-2480, (4) Office of Prevention, Education, and Control, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, 31 Center Drive, MSC 2480, Rm. 4A-10, Bethesda, MD 20892

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has developed a culturally appropriate heart health curriculum for a Native Hawaiian elementary school, using teachers and kupuna (in the role of community health worker) as health educators and messengers in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. In Native Hawaiian culture, kupuna (Native Hawaiian elders) are keepers of wisdom and role models for younger generations.

The curriculum promotes age-appropriate heart healthy behaviors for the prevention of heart disease and its risk factors. The lessons and skill-building activities incorporate Native Hawaiian values and traditions and center on a brother and sister who learn about what living heart healthy means through journeys in their Native Hawaiian town. The curriculum will be pilot tested first at a Native Hawaiian immersion school on Molokai, Hawaii, considered to be the most Hawaiian island. Molokai is a rural and remote island community with high poverty rates but rich with cultural and natural resources.

The impact of heart disease on the Native Hawaiian population demonstrates geographic and racial disparities that stress the need for culturally tailored community interventions. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among Native Hawaiians beginning at the age of 25 and continuing throughout their lifetime. To improve the heart health of Native Hawaiians, early intervention is crucial underscoring the need to educate children about healthy behaviors as they mature into adulthood.

Preliminary results from the program will be presented.

Learning Objectives: By the end of this presentation, participants will be able to

Keywords: Native Populations, Child/Adolescent

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

From Rural to Urban: Community Health Workers Promoting Healthy Communities

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA