Kaiser Hawaii Unveils First Ever Community Needs Assessment

April 27, 2011, 9:19 AM HST · Updated April 27, 11:22 AM
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Listening sessions provided valuable input to Kaiser's Community Needs Assessment. Photo courtesy of Kaiser Foundation.

Robin G. Pilus

Kaiser Permanente Hawaii has unveiled the first ever Hawaii Community Health Needs Assessment:  Community Voices on Health.  

 The plan was recently revealed at the State Capitol.   The unveiling was attended by hundreds of people, including elected officials, physicians and community and public health advocates.

A health needs assessment compiles information about existing health issues and trends as well as resources within acommunity.   This information can reveal disparities, gaps, prevalence of disease, and social and economic factors that create barriers to a community’s optimal health.

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According to Joanne C. Tanaka, Health Education Coordinator at Kaiser Permantente Maui, “Individuals and organizations will be able to use the community health needs assessment as a repository of both research and perspectives on how to improve community health.   The findings and opportunities will help direct and prioritize outreach and intervention efforts to needy populations.”

The assessment report details:

  • Hawaii’s overall demographics
  • The health status, health disparities and gaps in health care services in communities across the state including detail on Maui County, and
  • Trends in social and economic determinants of health

The report also offers potential opportunities to address community health needs and concerns across the islands.

The report was developed by gathering and analyzing data from secondary sources to profile and identify trends related to health disparities and gaps in health care services.  Also community listening sessions were conducted to identify community health needs and lift up voices of individuals, families and communities in the health care process.

Specific facts pertaining to Maui County are scattered throughout the report.  Some of the Maui facts noted are:

  •  The population in Hawaii grew 25% from 1970-1980 but increased only 7% from 2000-2009.   In recent years, the island of Hawaii has surpassed Maui for the first time as the fastest growing island.
  • Maui County’s median age of 38, which is surpassed only by Kauai, where the median age is 39.4.  Maui shows a larger percentage of working age people and a smaller elderly population when compared to other islands.
  •  In Maui County 7.8% of men and 5.9% of women are uninsured.
  • In Maui County 7.9% of Maui’s people had income in the past 6 months below the federal poverty level.

The report also outlines disparities in health care services, as well as physican shortages by secific areas and communities.  Perspectives on health as well as ideas for building healthy communities are also presented in detail in the report. 

“The assessment is a rich repository of statistical and anedcotal data,” Tanaka commented.  “We want to share this information with individuals, agencies and organizations that can use and benefit from this document.”

For more information or to obtain a copy of the Community Needs Assessment go to kp.org and search “Community Voices” for a downloadable copy of the document.

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