Kaiwipunikauikawakiu Punihei Lipe

A university of Hawaii in Mānoa, an academic who promotes the campus’s aspiration to become a place of Indigenous Hawaiian learning has been selected to join an inaugural cohort of a nationwide program to advance racial and health equity. June 6 Native Hawaiian Affairs Program Officer Kaiwipunikauikawakiu Punihei Lipe will be the sole representative of Hawaii when she joins 39 leaders from 21 states across the country as they begin the first cohort of the Culture of Health Leaders Institute for Racial Healing (CoHLI), a program run by the National Collaboration for Health Equity (NCHE) in Washington D.C.

As the nation continues to grapple with the historical and contemporary effects of racism, Lipe and fellow practitioners will gain tools and resources during the 18-month program to hold public servants and private sector leaders more accountable for real progress in racial equity and health. The Kanaka scholar ʻōiwi (Native Hawaiian) was selected through a competitive process and is among talented community leaders across the country chosen for their leadership experiences in politics, law, organizations basics, education and health.

“My main implementation mission here at uh Manoa and in Hawaii is to bring as many innovative and strategic strategies that can help us scale and sustain Hawaii-grounded efforts that promote truth sharing, racial healing, and relationship building within and across sectors so that we can create a healthy, loving, and prosperous future for our keiki and moʻopuna (grandchildren) deserve,” Lipe said. “It is a huge honor and I am truly thrilled to have the opportunity to work with other academic practitioners who work in this field and who appreciate the importance of truth, racial healing and transformation (TRHT) frame.”

In 2019, Lipe was one of 200 emerging leaders from the Asia-Pacific region selected for the Obama Foundation Leaders: Asia-Pacific program. She joined former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, as well as other prominent speakers and leaders for discussions on progress and opportunity in the Asia-Pacific region and values-based leadership.

Lipe also directs the uh Manoa TRHT Campus Center which is one of 50 pioneer campuses across Hawaii and the United States has chosen to develop visionary action plans that prepare the next generation of leaders to advance justice and build just communities.

Advancing Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation

The CoHLI will meet virtually every month and participate in learning opportunities with experts and one-on-one coaching using the TRHT framework to strengthen the ecosystem of practitioners. The cohort will focus their work on one of five areas: narrative change, racial healing and relationship building, separation, law and economics.

“We are thrilled for our first cohort and look forward to seeing the transformational changes needed for our communities to heal and thrive and ultimately end the absurd belief in a hierarchy of human worth,” said Gail Christopher, Executive Director of NCHE. “The selected practitioners represent some of the brightest minds advancing racial and health equity in our communities today, and we hope the program will only further amplify their work.”

The CoHLI is a leadership program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.