hmsa and cvs bring heart health education to the community

Marvin Buenconsejo
Courtney Takabayashi
July 09, 2024

It was a quiet Saturday morning in Pearl City. Yet by 8:59 a.m., there was a line forming outside the HMSA Center in the Pearl City Gateway. They were the eager participants of Healthy Heart, Healthy You, an educational workshop held by HMSA and CVS aka Longs Drugs.

A hidden gem
Joann Taula, manager of the HMSA Center at Pearl City, isn’t surprised by the buzz of excitement from the attendees. “We’re collaborating with our drug partner, CVS, to bring the community this health education workshop about hypertension,” she says. “We’re so excited because today’s class is filled!”

Even though the center has been open for nearly 11 years, members are often surprised when they find out it exists. “We need to get the word out about what we do here,” says Taula. “One member who lives nearby called us a ‘hidden’ gem because she was so happy to be able to come in and talk to us in real life.”

Taula in the HMSA Center at Pearl City sharing information. 

Taula encourages members to drop by the center if they have questions about HMSA or their plan, or want an extra copy of Island Scene magazine. “We love getting to know the folks who visit us,” she says. “They can pay their premiums or, if they’re thinking about retiring, they can learn about the plans we offer. We’re truly honored to be a part of this community and will do everything we can to help anyone who walks through our doors.”

Part of the community
Born and raised in Mililani, Erika Ruiz is also passionate about helping the community. As a pharmacy manager who’s been with CVS for 24 years, Ruiz has dedicated her career to community pharmacy. “It’s rewarding to be able to answer questions and help people understand how to take their medications,” Ruiz says. “If they know what to expect when they’re on medications, it increases the chances that they’ll continue taking them.”

Ruiz (right) presenting at the Healthy Heart, Healthy You workshop. 

Ruiz appreciates the partnership between CVS and HMSA. “Through HMSA, we’re able to connect with so many patients and help ensure that they understand how to take their medications,” she says. “Plus, holding workshops about important health topics like hypertension helps keep the community healthy and informed. That’s the best part of my job.”

Healthy heart, healthy you
The workshop led by Ruiz was packed with useful, practical information including:

  • Understanding high blood pressure.
  • The consequences of elevated blood pressure.
  • Healthy aging: Brain health and blood pressure.
  • Knowing your blood pressure numbers.
  • Steps to control and maintain blood pressure.
  • Knowing your blood pressure medications and over-the-counter medications.

Attendees even got their own blood pressure monitor to practice on at the workshop and take home.

Workshop participants learning how to use their new blood pressure machines.

For more information about health education workshops or to sign up for classes, visit HMSA’s website or check out the events on Workshops cover a variety of well-being topics, like nutrition, physical activity and exercise, stress management, and more. Workshops are held in person and online!

Check out highlights from the workshop:

For hours, locations, and phone numbers of the HMSA Centers in Hilo, Honolulu, Kahului, Lihue, and Pearl City, visit

Discover more
HMSA has a variety of programs and resources to help you maintain or improve your health and well-being. 

Diabetes Prevention Program
If you’re at risk for type 2 diabetes, this 24-month program can help you change your lifestyle so you can prevent it.

A Guide to After-hours Care
Not sure if you should seek care through telehealth, urgent care, or the emergency room? It depends on your needs! This handy guide will help you decide.

Health Coaching
Take control of your well-being with the help of a certified health coach! They can help you create a plan and offer support as you work toward your goals. 

HMSA Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Program
Get personalized prenatal care support for a healthy pregnancy.

HMSA’s Online Care
With HMSA’s Online Care®, you can talk with a doctor 24/7, 365 days a year without leaving home. Online Care providers are Hawaii licensed and HMSA credentialed. Get professional advice, diagnoses, and prescriptions sent right to your pharmacy.

Member discounts
Saving money is easy for HMSA members! We’ve partnered with local businesses so you can get discounts on activities, services, and more. 

Visit our digital newsroom to see how HMSA supports members and the community through programs, events, and initiatives.

Amwell® is an independent company providing hosting and software services for HMSA’s Online Care platform on behalf of HMSA.

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