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The Conversation: Local Doctor Joins Hawaii's Coronavirus Efforts

State of Hawaiʻi
ASL interpreter during one of Gov. Ige's press conferences

Meet the doctor tapped to help the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency during the COVID-19 crisis, HPR reporter Noe Tanigawa discusses how local small businesses are grappling with the economic shutdown, kupuna get help from a grassroots volunteer organization, and American Sign Language interpreters shine in the spotlight. 

Credit Office of Governor David Ige

Dr. Steven Hankins, MD, MPH, MTS was chosen to be the lead coordinator for our state's Public Health and Medical Services under HI-EMA. He teaches family medicine at UH's John Burns School of Medicine and his mission now is to coordinate efforts to manage the current health crisis. We talked to him after his first week on the job.

Dr. Steven Hankins

Credit wendy julianto from Pixabay

Hawaii's economy runs on small businesses - defined by the federal Small Business Administration as less than 500 employees. ProService Hawaii provides HR services to 2,500 employers across the islands. HPR reporter Noe Tanigawa spoke with its CEO, Ben Godsey, on how the coronavirus crisis is affected the local small businesses.

Click here for Proservice's free employer's guide to coronavirus
Click here to go to the state's new unemployment claim tracking site 

Noe Tanigawa

Credit Catherine Cruz / HPR

Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation explores ways to keep rail contruction going during the COVID-19 crisis. Chad Blair, Honolulu Civit Beat's Politics and Opinion Editor joins us for today's Reality Check.

Chad Blair

Credit Kupuna Kare/Facebook

Kupuna are some of the most vulnerable groups facing the COVID-19 health crisis. When the simple act of going out to buy groceries means increasing risk for infection, how do vulnerable populations get the esssential services they need? Kurt Osaki, one of the founders of Kupuna Kare, a grassroots volunteer organization dedicated to helping our state's elderly through this crisis, spoke to The Conversation's Harrison Patino.

Kurt Osaki

Credit Airman 1st Class Kyle Johnson/USAF

This year marks 50 years since the American Disabilities Act was first passed. So maybe it's more fitting than ever we are seeing more American Sign Language interpreters with state and county daily briefings televised just about every day.  In fact, in Canada, one interpreter - Nigel Howard - has developed a following. We talked with Jan Fried, an ASL professor at Kapiolani Community College about interpreting for the deaf community and Howard's celebrity status. 

Jan Fried

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Catherine Cruz is the host of The Conversation. Originally from Guam, she spent more than 30 years at KITV, covering beats from government to education. Contact her at ccruz@hawaiipublicradio.org.
Noe Tanigawa covered art, culture and ideas for two decades at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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