College News

Leilani Ann Maxera, MSW alumni, is a death educator and home funeral advocate who lives in Honolulu, HI. During her time in HPU's MSW program she wrote her thesis on home funerals and their effects on grief. An excerpt of her thesis "Home Funerals and Their Effects on the Grief Process" was published in "Natural Transitions" Magazine. 

generations magazine

Anaeliz “Mina” Colon, Adjunct Faculty of Public Health, was featured for her work as a Breast Cancer Warrior in the August/September 2019 issue of Generations Magazine. Anaeliz was in high school when her mother, in her early 30s, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Anaeliz’s grandma also had breast cancer so she had a higher risk of developing it. The summer after she graduated college, Anaeliz went through genetic testing and was identified as carrying BRCA2, a genetic mutation linked to breast cancer risk. It was also discovered that her risk of getting breast cancer was 87%. Anaeliz decided to undergo a prophylactic double mastectomy. She says “the experience was emotional, but I could not feel luckier now that I had this option.” She recently started her own website – – due to the desire to interact with and support women in her age group that have gone through the same experience. Anaeliz is involved with the Hawaii chapter of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. If you would like to get involved, please visit


guatemala  guatemala  guatemala  guatemala

Drs. Cate Critz and Hobie Etta Feagai led Nursing students from HPU on a medical mission trip to Guatemala. 


capstone sympoisum

Many students from the College of Health and Society participated in the university-wide 2019 Capstone Symposium. Of the 68 presentations, 7 CHS students won awards. 

Undergraduate - Project Category: 

  • Janice Hata (Public Health), on "Analyzing the Disparities in Maternal Mortality Among African American Women in the United States." 
  • Destiny Brown (Social Work), on "Identifying Adolescent Expressions of Intergenerational Trauma and How to Build Resilience." 
  • Jessica-Anne Valdenarro (Social Work), on "Effective Mentorship Programs: Are National Organizations Equipped to Handle Indigenous and Native People?

Graduate - Research Category

  • Maisa Thayer (Social Work), on "The Relevancy of Rituals in Surivor's Empowerment: Expression Circles" 
  • Adam Swanson (Public Health), on "Risk History Surveillance Assessment of Campylobacteriosis Cases in Hawaii from August 2018 to November 2018."
  • Jeff Grace (Social Work), on "Descriptive Factors Affecting Housing Interventions for VA Homeless Program Veterans in Hawai'i." 

CHS Dean's Award

  • Bryan-Joseph Tamayo (Public Health), on "Addressing the Health Disparities Among Micronesian Populations in Hawaii." 

The Public Health Department graduated 14 students with a Bachelor of Science in Public Health degree and 2 students with a Master of Public Health degree. The BSPH graduates were Sunshine Agcaoili, Marie Aguirre, Annalei Alcaide, Anna Borja, Jaypee Carreon, Alexis Cortes, Daphine Damian, Jenn Flores, Chaney Manarin, Mackenzie Otto, Daria Parkinson, Joleen Paul, Rita Poluchuck, and Byran-Joseph Tamayo. The MPH graduates were Adam Swanson and Javis Faletagaloa. 

Students that participated in community service events throughout the year were awarded service cords by the Public Health Club officers. There were also four departmental awards given to students: 

  • Chaney Manarin: BSPH Certificate of Meritorious Scholarship
  • Adam Swanson: MPH Certificate of Meritorious Scholarship
  • Alexis Cortes: Certificate of Meritorious Service
  • Jaypee Carreon: The Chair's Award

Dr. Lori Daniels of the School of Social Work was featured on Hawai'i news now discussing the 16th Annual Hawaii International Summit on Preventing, Assessing, and Treating Trauma. 

public health alum


Desiree Tupas, Master of Public Health alumna ('18), was selected for the prestigious and competitive California Epidemiologic Investigation Service (Cal-EIS) Fellowship Program. This program is designed to prepare epidemiologists for public health leadership positions in California. As a Cal-EIS fellow, Tupas' main objective is to develop projects that entail performing analyses on data collected from California's healthcare infrastructure. 


deans publication of the year


Dr. Michaela Rinkel (pictured left) was awarded the 2019 Dean's Publication of the Year award, along with her students Kelli Larsen, Chloe Harrington, and Christiana Chun for their article "Effects of Social Work Practice on Practitioner Spirituality." The article was published by Journal of Religion & Spirituality in Social Work: Social Thought.

rso advisor

Jennifer Nafarette (right),  was awarded Registered Student Organization (RSO) Faculty Advisor of the Year for 2019 for her involvement in HPU's Student Nursing Assocation (SNA). The Student Nursing Association also won RSO of the Year and Most Distinguished RSO. Congratulations Jen and SNA! 

exchange trip

CHS students representing Nursing, Public Health, and Social Work traveled to Japan and Viet Nam during winter break, participating in the inaugural HPU Interprofessional Education Cultural Exchange trip. CHS faculty Patricia Burrell and Paul Tran led the trip. The group engaged with faculty and students from Osaka Prefecture University in Japan and Da Nang University and Hue University in Viet Nam, learning through lectures and presentations, social service visits, sightseeing and spending time with host families. Throughout their travels, the students spread aloha and shared the culture of Hawai'i, dancing and teaching hula, playing the ukulele and singing. 

Through the trip, the students had the opportunity to gain a better understanding of different beliefs and viewpoints to solve social issues in the world.