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First graduates of mental health technician program honored in Hawaiʻi

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L-R: Jacqueline Turner and Cristine Lucas are the first graduates of a new mental health technician certificate program. Photo courtesy: DOH

The Hawaiʻi Department of Health and Windward Community College honored the first two graduates of a new certificate program to grow Hawaiʻi’s mental healthcare workforce.

Cristine Lucas, who works at the Hawaiʻi State Hospital, and Jacqueline Turner, who works for the State Operated Special Residential Programs, both completed the Mental Health Technician Certificate of Competence program in the Spring 2022 semester.

The nine-credit program prepares students to work as assistants to mental health professionals in institutional settings, such as the Hawaiʻi State Hospital, and in community-based settings such as the State Operated Special Residential Programs.

The certificate program was created following discussions between the Department of Health, Windward Community College and community leaders on how the community could collaborate to meet workforce needs. Trained mental health technicians are in demand locally for jobs at a number of healthcare organizations, including DOH.

“These first graduates are our hope for increased quality of care and expanded career opportunities in mental health for community members,” said Windward Community College Chancellor Dr. Ardis Eschenber. “I look forward to seeing this program and its impact grow.

Department of Health, Windward Community College and community leaders celebrate the first Mental Health Technician Certificate of Competence graduates. Photo Courtesy: DOH

Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Char, FACEP, added: “Innovative partnerships like this one will allow us to continue to grow our workforce and ensure that healthcare workers like Jacqueline and Cristine have opportunities to advance in their careers.”


The certificate program is being offered free of charge in the Fall 2022 semester. Interested students can learn more at

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