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The Conversation: New Grants Help Expand Telehealth Statewide


New grants seek to expand telehealth throughout the state; Reality Check: how the pandemic has exacerbated our teacher shortage; Rental assistance program rolls out for Native Hawaiians; Perseverance rover hunts for ancient life on Mars

Credit Wikimedia Commons

New grants seek to expand telehealth throughout the state

Due to stay-at-home orders and limited in-person doctor appointments, telehealth has become a literal lifeline for some patients during the pandemic. But challenges like lack of broadband access, technology, and training have comprised many clinics' attempts at implementing a telehealth program. Chris Van Bergeijk, senior vice president and chief impact officer at Hawaii Community Foundation, wants to change that. Along with HMSA and the Freeman Foundation, her organization has provided $1.3 million in grants to get telehealth service off the ground in fourteen federally qualified health centers across the state.

Kalihi Palama Health Center (KPHC) received one of those grants. CEO Dr. Emmanuel Kintu continues to conversation with HPR's news editor Jason Ubay about KPHC's telehealth system prior to the pandemic and how it used the money.

Chris Van Bergeijk, Senior VP and Chief Impact Officer, Hawaii Community Foundation
Dr. Emmanuel Kintu, CEO, Kalihi Palama Health Center
Credit HSTA Facebook page

Reality Check: how the pandemic has exacerbated our teacher shortage

Hawaii suffered from a severe teacher shortage prior to pandemic. Civil Beat reporter Suevon Lee gives us an overview of the Department of Education's recruitment strategies amidst looming budget cuts and travel restrictions. You can read her full story here at

Suevon Lee, Honolulu Civil Beat
Credit DHHL Facebook page

Rental assistance program rolls out for Native Hawaiians

As we draw nearer to the anniversary of the first pandemic lockdown, many Hawaii residents are still struggling with losses of income. A new rental assistance program by spearheaded the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) started on February 8th and seeks to provide relief to Native Hawaiians. They have receivcd over five hundred applications already. Kuhio Lewis, President and CEO of CNHA and Tyler Gomes, Deputy to the Chairman of DHHL talk with The Conversation's Russell Subiono about who is qualified and how to apply.

To apply for the program, click here:

Kuhio Lewis, President and CEO of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, and Tyler Gomes, Deputy to the Chair of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands
Credit NASA/JPL-Caltech

Perseverance rover hunts for ancient life on Mars

Dr. Sarah Fagents is a co-investigator for Mastcam-Z instruments on the new Mars rover Perseverance. She talks with The Conversation's Savannah Harriman-Pote about her work as a planetary volcanologist and how Hawaii can help understand the Red Planet's geology.

To learn more about NASA's Perseverance mission, click here.

Sarah Fagents, University of Hawaii Volcanologist

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.
Jason Ubay is HPR's news editor. Send your story ideas to him at
Russell Subiono has been with Hawai‘i Public Radio since 2019. Born in Honolulu and raised on Hawaiʻi Island, he’s spent the last decade working in local film, TV, and radio. He got his start at HPR as a Production Assistant on The Conversation from 2016-2017. Prior to his return, he spent two years as a producer at KITV4 Island News, where he oversaw Hawai‘i’s only hour-long evening broadcast. He also served as HPR’s Fund Drive Producer for two years before returning to The Conversation as Executive Producer. In the moments when he’s not working at the station, you can find him visiting donut shops, making top-5 lists, and developing comedy videos that never get made.
Savannah Harriman-Pote rejoined The Conversation in 2021 after interning for Hawaiʻi Public Radio in the summers of 2018 and 2019. She completed her undergraduate degree in International Relations at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, during which time she worked for WMHC and Mount Holyoke News. She has also worked with the audio documentary series Outer Voices and National Geographic.
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