Research has indicated that Native Hawaiian youth have significantly higher rates of drug use than their non-Hawaiian counterparts (e.g., Wong, Klingle, & Price, 2004; Mayeda, Hishinuma, Nishimura, Garcia- Santiago, & Mark, 2006; Nishimura, Hishinuma, & Goebert, 2013), and that these differences are particularly pronounced in rural settings (Lai & Saka, 2005). Despite these findings, there have been very few drug prevention programs developed and evaluated specifically for these youth (Edwards, Giroux, & Okamoto, 2010; Rehuher, Hiramatsu, & Helm, 2008). Therefore, the purpose of this research proposal is to complete the development of a video-enhanced, culturally grounded, school-based drug prevention curriculum for rural Native Hawaiian youth (Ho'ouna Pono), and to evaluate the curriculum across all public middle/intermediate schools on Hawai'i Island. This will be accomplished through three specific aims.
AIM 1 (Year 1) is to complete the Ho'ouna Pono drug prevention curriculum initially developed and validated in a NIDA-funded translational pilot/feasibility study (R34 DA031306). To date, five professionally filmed video vignettes depicting drug-related problem situations specific to rural Hawaiian youth and seven interactive classroom lessons have been created, implemented in randomly selected intervention schools, and preliminarily evaluated using a pre-test, post-test control group design.
Aim 1 enhances and builds upon this work by producing two new video vignettes, re-editing a Behind the Scenes video, developing new classroom curricular components, and synthesizing the new content with the existing curriculum.
AIM 2 (Years 2-3) is to evaluate the fully conceived curriculum across all middle/intermediate schools on Hawai'i Island (N = 15) using a dynamic wait- listed control group design (Brown, Wyman, Guo, & Pea, 2006).
AIM 3 (Year 4) is to assess community, systemic, and curricular factors related to the implementation, adoption, and sustainability of the curriculum within public middle/intermediate schools on Hawaii Island.

Public Health Relevance

Because Hawaiians or part-Hawaiians represent the largest Pacific Islander population in the U.S. (Harris & Jones, 2005) and have recently been shown to have significantly higher rates of drug use compared with other ethnic groups (Wu et al., 2013), research focused on drug prevention of these individuals is important to improve public health both in Hawai'i and on the Mainland U.S. This study actively engages rural communities in the full-scale development and evaluation of the Ho'ouna Pono drug prevention curriculum for Hawaiian youth, promoting the overall utility and effectiveness of the intervention. Further, the findings from this study will point to the core content of prevention interventions for Hawaiian youth in rural communities, which should be applicable to other ethnic youth populations in Hawaii and the Pacific Rim, as well as Native youth populations on the Mainland U.S.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Research Project (R01)
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Application #
Study Section
Health Disparities and Equity Promotion Study Section (HDEP)
Program Officer
Sims, Belinda E
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Hawaii Pacific University
Social Sciences
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Helm, Susana; Okamoto, Scott K (2016) Gendered Perceptions of Drugs, Aggression, and Violence. J Interpers Violence :886260516660301