ke ola mamo: advocating for community health

Kristie Yeung
January 16, 2024

Ke Ola Mamo may not be well known as a place to go for health care needs on Oahu. However, this nonprofit organization has been humbly serving the community for more than 30 years. Founded in 1988 through the Native Hawaiian Health Care Act of 1988, Ke Ola Mamo is one of five Native Hawaiian Health Care Systems in Hawaii supported by Papa Ola Lokahi.

The translation of Ke Ola Mamo is “life of the descendants,” which aligns with our organization’s mission to “Empower, educate, and promote the health and well-being of our Native Hawaiian communities on Oahu.” To fulfill our mission, we offer social services, health and nutrition education, dental services, Native Hawaiian healing practices, and medical services to address the multifaceted needs of the community. We have four locations – Waianae, Koolauloa, Koolaupoko, and Urban Honolulu – each staffed with a community health worker. We also have a medical clinic and an administrative office in Downtown Honolulu. 

Map of Ke Ola Mamo locations on Oahu. 

Medical clinic
If you’re looking for a new primary care provider, consider visiting Ke Ola Mamo’s Medical Clinic at Kuakini Medical Plaza. Medical Director Nicole Lum, D.O., runs the clinic and is also a geriatrician specializing in the care of older adults. The clinic’s team includes a doctor, nurse practitioner, registered dietitian, community health nurse, medical assistant, and community health worker.

What separates Ke Ola Mamo’s Medical Clinic from others is the comprehensive one-on-one time that providers spend with each patient to thoroughly address their questions and concerns. The staff who run the clinic are truly invested in the health and overall well-being of patients on a personal level. “Some of the patients have been here longer than me!” says Michelle Tam Sing, medical assistant at Ke Ola Mamo Medical Clinic for 11 years. “My patients are my family.”

Nurse practitioner Garla Souza-Roy values the ability to incorporate her culture into her work. “Being a Native Hawaiian practitioner allows me to provide culturally sensitive care for our specific population and understand their culture and needs even further,” she says.

The clinic is currently accepting new patients for primary care, geriatric consultations, and nutrition counseling.

Health and nutrition education
Beyond medical care, Ke Ola Mamao also provides health and nutrition education. Our community health nurse, registered dietitian, and client services team offer health education through interactive presentations, food demonstrations, and chronic disease management courses to help empower individuals to take control of their health. We specifically target the diseases that are prevalent in Native Hawaiian communities such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and cancer. 

Our clinic staff provides health screenings and nutrition education in the community.

Social services
Ke Ola Mamo’s locations in Waimanalo, Nanakuli, Hauula, and Urban Honolulu offer social services, health care referrals, and access to various resources. Our community health workers understand the specific needs in their area because they live in the communities they serve.

Laura Torres, Waianae community health worker, has been with Ke Ola Mamo for nearly 10 years. “Working alongside the community I live in makes me more aware of not only the challenges we face but also the love and support in the community,” she says. “I enjoy working with the kupuna and going to Head Start programs and community events such as night markets.”  

Ke Ola Mamo staff at a community outreach event

Dental services
Individuals who fall under the 200% Federal Poverty Level and don’t have private dental insurance or dental benefits through QUEST Integration (Medicaid) can enroll in our dental services program to address their oral health needs. Our dental program also provides oral hygiene education and dental referrals across the island.

Native Hawaiian healing practices
Ke Ola Mamo promotes Native Hawaiian healing practices and traditions through our lomilomi program. We provide up to five sessions of lomilomi massage through our contracted practitioners at a discounted rate of $10 per session. A referral from a medical provider is required to participate in the program. 

To learn more about Ke Ola Mamo health care and the services we offer, please check out our website or call us at 808-848-8000. 

Photos courtesy Ke Ola Mamo.

Kristie Yeung is a registered dietitian for Ke Ola Mamo and sees patients out of the medical clinic at Kuakini Medical Plaza. She was born and raised in Honolulu and has worked as a dietitian in Massachusetts, Indiana, and Maryland in clinical nutrition, maternal and infant health, and public health nutrition. Yeung moved back home to Oahu two years ago and loves working with the community and helping patients achieve their health goals. 

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