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University of Hawaii medical school launches masters degree program

Degree in Native Hawaiian health

 The University of Hawaii’s John A. Burns School of Medicine is launching a new graduate degree focusing on Native Hawaiian public health beginning in the Fall semester.

The specialized master’s degree comes from a partnership between the school’sOffice of Public Health Studies and the Department of Native Hawaiian Health, and the medical school is calling it the “Native Hawaiian and Indigenous Health Specialization” under their Master of Public Health program.

Dr. Maile Taualii, head of the program, explained the need for this niche degree.

“The purpose of this program is to prepare students for leadership roles in indigenous health, policy, research and culturally safe practices and services,” she said in a statement. “The program’s global focus makes it the only one of its kind.”

This new program will help address issues unique to the Native Hawaiian population — a population which tends to live 13 years fewer than other state residents.

“Native Hawaiians experience some of the state’s worst health outcomes,” Taualii said in a statement. “We believe a very real result will be to help improve the health and wellness of our community and to reduce the health inequalities they suffer.”

The program, announced on Wednesday, will teach students a mixed curriculum of public health, Native Hawaiian and indigenous studies, and hands-on practicum opportunities.

The Office of Public Health currently offers three other master’s degrees in epidemiology, health policy and management, and social behavioral health sciences.

Applicants interested in the new specialization have until March 15 to apply.

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