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The Conversation: Local Doctor Joins Hawaii's Coronavirus Efforts

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Flickr/Governor David Ige
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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. 

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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.

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Dr. Steven Hankins

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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 

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Noe Tanigawa

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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.

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Chad Blair

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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.

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Kurt Osaki

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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. 

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Jan Fried

Catherine Cruz is the Host of The Conversation and a member of HPR’s news team. She has been a television reporter in Hawai‘i since 1983 and has won a number of awards and respect from a statewide audience. She spent more than thirty years at KITV, covering beats from government to education and health. Originally from Guam, Cruz is also a co-founder and former Board member and programming chair of Pacific Islanders in Communication (PIC). Catherine is a graduate of San Francisco State University with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.
Noe Tanigawa covers art, culture, and ideas for Hawai'i Public Radio. Noe began working in news at WQXR, the New York Times' classical station in New York City, where she also hosted music programs from 1990-94. Prior to New York, Noe was a music host in jazz, rock, urban contemporary, and contemporary and classic Hawaiian music formats in Honolulu. Since arriving at HPR in 2002, Noe has received awards from the Los Angeles Press Club, the Society of Professional Journalists Hawai'i Chapter, and an Edward R. Murrow Regional Award for coverage of the budget process at the Hawai'i State Legislature. Noe holds a Masters in Painting from UH Mānoa. She maintains an active painting practice, and has recently returned from a 2015 residency with the U.S. Art in Embassies program in Palau. Noe is from Wailupe Valley in East O'ahu.
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