The University of Hawai‘i Center for Indigenous Innovation and Health Equity (UH CIIHE) is committed to fostering systemic transformation to empower Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community-based organization. We accomplish this through a multi-faceted approach encompassing research, policy advocacy, community engagement, student development, direct services, and economic empowerment initiatives.


  1. At the community level, investment is being driven into community organizations.
  2. At the university level, research is co-designed with community and supports ancestral practices done in contemporary application.
  3. At the government level, Indigenous communities are repositioned as spaces of innovation and their practices and people are thriving.


Research Pillar

Policy Pillar

Student Development

Education and Training


Pewa Framework

The framing principle for CIIHE’s work is called the Pewa Framework, intended to ensure equity, transparency, and reciprocity. A “pewa” is a wedge pattern used in traditional Hawaiian woodwork to prevent splitting and patch holes. It has become a symbol of healing in Native Hawaiian communities of practice.


Principal Investigator

Kamuela Enos, MA


(808) 956-8089

Co-Principal Investigator

Aimee Malia Grace, MD, FAAP


(808) 956-8069

Operations Manager

Rachelle Robley


(808) 956-8390

‘Āina-based Organizations Coordinator

Puna Sabagala, MPH


Policy Coordinator

Beatriz Aurelio, MPH


(808) 956-6036


Research Coordinator

Dejah Fa‘asoa, MPH



Project Administrator

Shanda Delos Reyes


(808) 956-6013

 Graduate Assistant

Heejung Sin



CIIHE Alumni

  • Johnny Aldan, Jr., MPH (Data & Policy Analyst)
  • Sharde Freitas, MPH, JD (Data & Policy Analyst)
  • Ikaika Ramones, PhD (‘Āina-based Organizations Liaison)