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Hawaiʻi Medical Service Association donates $1 million for UH health economic professorship

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The University of Hawaiʻi is establishing an endowed professorship in economics with a $1 million donation from the Hawaiʻi Medical Service Association. Photo Courtesy: UH

The Hawaiʻi Medical Service Association donated $1 million to establish the HMSA Distinguished Endowed Professorship in Health Economics at the University of Hawaiʻi Economic Research Organization. The endowment will support UHERO’s research in the area of health economics.

“This is a key part of a larger health policy initiative at the College of Social Sciences focused on improving the health care of Hawaiʻi’s people and economy,” said Dean Denise Eby Konan, professor of economics and UHERO research fellow. “This endowment will enable the university to attract and retain the highest-caliber health economics faculty and advance research in the area of health economics.”

HMSA is a health plan company that covers more than half of Hawaiʻi’s population.

UHERO Executive Director Carl Bonham has worked closely with HMSA President and CEO Mark M. Mugiishi, M.D., F.A.C.S., on Hawaiʻi’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two years.

“UHERO has been a key player in our economic development recovery efforts as we emerge from the damaging effects of COVID-19 across the state,” Mugiishi said. “HMSA remains committed to creating a healthier Hawaiʻi, especially in our efforts to improve the overall economic health in our local community.”

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Bonham added: “We have a common vision of a future where shared data, research and analysis drive policy to improve the lives of Hawaiʻi’s people.”

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UHERO already has several projects underway that will benefit from a close collaboration with HMSA, including the development of a new linked housing and health database, and a new longitudinal health survey in Hawaiʻi. Both efforts are designed to study systemic health disparities exacerbated by COVID-19 and inform the design and execution of public health programs in Hawaiʻi.

HMSA and its philanthropic arm, the HMSA Foundation, have a long history of giving to major health care initiatives at UH. In 2021, the HMSA Foundation gave $6 million in support of various initiatives at the John A. Burns School of Medicine and Nancy Atmospera-Walch School of Nursing.

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