The future of health in North Kohala

KOHALA — North Kohala faces challenges as a remote, small rural community, yet it is home to a variety of diverse health and wellness services. Local community questions ask if these services are adequately geared to serve the current and future health needs of North Kohala.

New construction, innovation and expansion projects are underway at both Kohala Hospital and the nearby Hamakua-Kohala Health Clinic. To help community members understand the changes coming, the second annual community wellness forum will be held at North Kohala Public Library at 6:30 p.m. on March 13.

Health care providers will offer an introduction to current news about their practices, facilities and future plans to better serve North Kohala in a roundtable format. Also in the discussion will be representatives from the Ardolf Naturopathic Clinic, Blue Zones Project North Hawaii, North Hawaii Hospice and the Same Canoe “Food is Good Medicine” program.

A question that will be addressed during the roundtable is: how can North Kohala develop collaborative resources that make it a wellness destination and expand services for local residences by adopting a “wellness campus” model?

Ideas emerging for the campus concept include clinic and practitioner offices; community education meeting rooms; a commercial and culinary kitchen for food services and training; food and medicinal plant gardens; overnight accommodations for visiting patients from around the state or afar, a book store and natural foods mini-market; a thrift store; a youth wellness center; and a laundromat.

Public feedback and suggestions will be welcomed during a Q&A.

The program will conclude by 7:50 p.m. Anyone interested in improving or expanding health care services in North Kohala is welcome to attend.

Info: Stephen Shrader at 328-2452

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