In what has become a yearly outreach to Big Island residents, Chaminade University School of Nursing students conducted health screenings and offered wellness education at the Ho’oku’ikahi Establishment Day Hawaiian Cultural Festival.

The 45th annual event was held at the Pu’ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site, famous for its ruins of an ancient Hawaiian temple built circa 1790 by King Kamehameha I. The popular festival draws Native Hawaiians and other residents from throughout the Islands.

Nursing students participating in the 2017 Puukohola eventAlong with performing first aid and intake, the future nurses helped 150 festival goers by checking their blood pressure and Body Mass Index. Students also counseled local residents about the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices to prevent and treat common maladies such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity.

Joining students at the outreach was Chaminade President Lynn Babington, who holds doctorate, master’s and bachelor’s degrees in nursing. She also works to improve America’s health care system by serving as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow.

Chaminade Chief Nursing Administrator Dr. Edna Magpantay-Monroe said the annual outreach is in keeping with the school’s mission and the University’s Marianist values.

“We want the students to share their knowledge in a humble way that serves the people,” Magpantay-Monroe said, “and look at the people they serve from a unique perspective of body, mind and spirit.”

Nursing student Erin Ah Sue (‘18) said conducting the screenings was part of her kuleana as a Native Hawaiian scholar to promote health and wellness among other Native Hawaiians.

“I felt ‘re-rooted’ to my Native Hawaiian culture,” she said. “It helped me to re-focus and ensure that my goals after graduation are in line with what I have promised as a Ho’oulu scholar, which is to be a part of a lahui (group) of health practitioners ‘who are equally grounded in science and culture.’”

Student Jessica Jicha (‘18) said it was “humbling to be able to give back to the community.”

“Not only did I get to indulge myself in my own culture,” Jicha said, “it is an experience that I can integrate into my bedside manner when working with patients of the Native Hawaiian culture.”

Nursing students participating in the 2017 Puukohola eventJohn Aiwohi (‘19) called the outreach experience “life changing.”

“I will take what I have learned and incorporate that in my future career as a nurse professional,” Aiwohi said. “The ability to work well and efficiently with other professions ensures quality care, continuity, promotes client safety as well as advocacy.”

Tiana Sula (‘19) described the outreach as “an amazing experience” that “challenged me to step outside of my comfort zone and explore different parts of myself.”

“As a future nurse, I plan to use what I’ve learned to serve the people of Hawaii to the best of my ability,” Sula said. “Hawaii is such a unique place, so full of culture and tradition. As a nurse I want to be sensitive to these different aspects, and provide care that is unique to each patient.”

Guam native Danielle Balajadia (‘18) said the Big Island trip helped her “learn and understand the Hawaiian culture through their history and traditions.”

“From watching the shooting stars at 4 in the morning to listening to the Hawaiian chants of the people, I could feel the emotions and connections among the people, land and waters,” Balajadia said.

“Just being in that moment and releasing all the worries and stressors of life was such an incredible feeling,” she added. “Truly a great refresher to start off senior year.”

Helping underwrite the Hawaii Island trip were School of Nursing graduates Michael Ono (‘14), Genalyn Agustin (‘15), Annette Pakele-Chang (‘16), Hailey Hema (‘17) and Alaina Cabreros (‘17). Additional donors include: Grissel Benitez-Hodge, Dr. Stephanie Genz, Jeanette Peterson, Bryan Arce, Eva Gallegos and the Filipino Nurses’ Organization of Hawaii. An anonymous donation also supported the outreach.


Chaminade’s School of Nursing is a four year, full-time undergraduate program that offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. The unique program immerses students in nursing preparation with educational curriculum, human-patient simulations, community outreach projects, and service-learning and supervised clinical experiences. The curriculum for our undergraduates program is consistent with the Baccalaureate Essentials of Nursing produced by the American Association of Collegiate Nursing. The nursing program is fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.