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Hands-on public health in Lihu‘e

LIHU‘E — Lynette Medrano-Stine, and Acting Director Lori Almarza of Kaua‘i United Way both knew something big was happening at the state Department of Health Kaua‘i District Health Office on ‘Umi Street in Lihu‘e on Thursday, April 6, 2023.

“We passed by on the way to the Kaua‘i United Way annual meeting and mahalo lunch,” said Medrano-Stine. “There were a lot of tents and people in the Kaua‘i District Health Office parking lot. We could see that.”

The KDHO set up a fair marking National Public Health Week, where people could experience the hands-on life of the different people involved with the KDHO, such as a day in the life of an administrative assistant, microbiologist, mental health professional, food safety inspector, and many others.

The event that offered people experience in health care professions attracted a steady stream of students from high school to working professionals looking to firm up their education in health care professions.

These included students from the CNA to LPN Bridge program that is a partnership between ‘Ohana Pacific and the University of Hawai‘i Maui College, who stopped at each of the DOH booths for closer inspections and education.

“These students are actual employees of ‘Ohana Pacific,” the group’s chaperone explained. “They need to be employed for at least 20 hours a week to be eligible for ‘Ohana Pacific to pay for their education.”

Toni Torres, a public health nurse with the KDHO, was pleased that the day’s experience also included a tour of the KDHO labs similar to the tour Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami and his office received during the announcement of the day fair last week.

In addition to the students from the different high school pathways, Kaua‘i Community College and the work advancement programs, other guests from the Hale Kipa program from O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island stopped by following the Kaua‘i United Way luncheon.


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 808-245-0453 or
Source: The Garden Island

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