We conduct research and evaluation projects for programs and services
related to behavioral health, chronic disease, service delivery to rural and
underserved communities, and culturally minded interventions. These projects
are based on programs developed and implemented by I Ola Lāhui staff and
trainees as well as through partnerships with other organizations in need of
our support and expertise.
I Ola Lāhui is unique in that our faculty contain doctoral level psychologists
with expertise in research methodology as well as cultural and behavioral
health practices with a specific emphasis on Native Hawaiians and other
medically underserved groups. This combination of skills makes us well suited
to play a role in larger efforts to conduct research and evaluation of
indigenous health service delivery across a wide variety of problem areas.
Current Project: Cultural Interventions for Substance Abuse and Mental Health
I Ola Lāhui, in partnership with the University of Hawai‘i School of Social Work, is conducting an
evaluation of three programs providing substance abuse and mental health treatment using traditional
Hawaiian cultural practices. This first study is primarily descriptive in nature and seeks to identify
cultural practices, document the experience of participants, staff, and kupuna (Hawaiian elders), look at
overall program performance, and identify next steps in evaluating the effectiveness of these programs.
The role of I Ola Lāhui in this evaluation is critical in conducting research in a manner that is acceptable
to and respectful of the indigenous people and culture these programs serve.
The COSIG three site cultural intervention study is a perfect example of the type of research project we
do where we use our expertise as doctoral level researchers combined with our knowledge and
understanding of Native Hawaiian cultural and its use in service provision in clinical settings to conduct
research on programs that do intervention based upon a traditional Hawaiian worldview.
Project Background. The Three Site Cultural Evaluation Project is one part of a larger project, the Co-
occurring Disorder State Incentive Grant Project (COSIG). The COSIG Project aims to develop and
enhance the capacity and infrastructure of the State of Hawaii’s service system to provide integrated,
evidence-based treatment services to people who have co-occurring substance use and mental health
disorders. The COSIG Project includes a program evaluation initiative to identify and describe culturally
appropriate Native Hawaiian program interventions for consumers in need of treatment for co-occurring
substance abuse and mental health disorders.
An integral part of the COSIG’s activities is documentation of effective evidenced-based practices for
consumers of co-occurring services through an ongoing quality improvement mechanism. The overall
purpose of the proposed Three Site Cultural Evaluation initiative is to provide feedback and descriptions
of Native Hawaiian cultural program interventions utilized in treatment settings, to be used in an overall
statewide planning effort for the improvement of services for co-occurring substance abuse and mental