Maui News


May 12, 2009, 11:48 AM HST
* Updated May 13, 7:41 AM
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Moloka’i High School graduate and University of Hawai’i at Hilo student Kaycee “Nahe” Kawano has earned the prestigious summer scholar award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Kaycee “Nahe” Kawano.  Photo Courtesy:  University of Hawaii

Kaycee “Nahe” Kawano. Photo Courtesy: University of Hawaii

The research award is designed to recruit highly qualified minority students into the field of substance use prevention and treatment careers.

Kawano will continue her work on a substance use prevention research project that is investigating ecological factors in drug use among Native Hawaiian youth on Hawai’i island. The focus is Hawai’i island where Kawano attends college, but the work may be applicable to other rural areas in the State of Hawai’i, including Moloka’i.

The lead Principal Investigator is Dr. Scott Okamoto of Hawai’i Pacific University; and the co-Principal Investigator is Dr. Susana Helm of the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. Drs. Okamoto and Helm will supervise Kawano’s work under the NIDA project.  Kawano joined the project in 2007 as an undergraduate researcher. Resulting from this internship, Kawano became a co-author on a recently published peer-reviewed journal article in Progress in Community Health Partnerships, entitled “Participatory Drug Prevention Research in Rural Hawai’i with Native Hawaiian Middle School Students”.

Due to her aptitude for substance use research with Native Hawaiian youth, her work ethic and growing leadership, Dr. Okamoto enrolled his project in the Summer Research Program in the hopes that Kawano would be selected by NIDA and placed in his project.  University officials say that with the contributions of young Native Hawaiian scholars like Kawano, substance use prevention with Native Hawaiian middle school age adolescents will expand its requisite cultural integrity.


Kawano graduated in 2005 from Moloka’i High and Intermediate School. She will earn her bachelor’s degree in 2010 from the University of Hawai’i at Hilo, majoring in psychology and simultaneously earning a Certificate in Basic Hawaiian Culture.


(Posted by Wendy OSHER © 2009)

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