Donna-Marie Palakiko Community Engagement & Outreach Director

Donna-Marie Palakiko,
MS, RN, APRN

Community Engagement

Community Engagement Core works with organizations in Hawai'i and the Continental U.S. on ways to improve cardiometabolic health of Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Peoples. Many of the Core’s activities are driven from the priorities identified by the Ulu Network. Formed in 2004, the Network is an extensive 30-member community coalition, with nearly 70 sites sweeping across Hawai’i and reaching into California. The membership includes all 14 federally qualified community health centers (CHC) in Hawai‘i, all five federally established Native Hawaiian Health Care Systems (NHHCS), two partners in California, and several rural community hospitals, non-profit organizations, educational institutions and grass-root organizations that serve Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Peoples.

Core activities include “Ulu Trainings” community-based seminars in diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease for allied health professions, peer-counselors, and health navigators. The Core also facilities research collaborations between community partners and Center researchers on initiatives of mutual interest. Dissemination of culturally-relevant chronic disease programs developed for Native and Pacific Peoples is another Core focus area.