KOKUA is an interdisciplinary training program by a geriatrician, pharmacist, and psychologist in Honolulu, Hawai’i.
We are tackling the problem of Hawai’i’s geriatric workforce shortage and the inverse growth in the elderly population. The state of Hawai’i is not well equipped to care for our kūpuna. We have a severe shortage of medical and mental health providers. Due to our unique geography, this deficit is especially felt in low-income populations and on the Neighbor Islands.
Most specialists are clustered around the state capital of Honolulu, on the island of O‘ahu. Hawai‘i Island compares more poorly to the rest of the state. They struggle with a greater shortage of primary care providers, pharmacists, and mental health professionals. This shortage has become so drastic that it is a public health emergency.
Our approach is to change mindsets, attitudes, and knowledge in primary health care. We developed a practical multi-pronged curriculum to:
- Address four areas of geriatric health
- Increase the number of geriatric specialists
- Create a sustainable database of online training and resources for community providers
Our goals are to increase the number of geriatric specialists and provide online resources and training for community providers. We will share more when the project is completed at the end of 2022.