Sunday, July 8, 2001

Chamber of Commerce
awards grants to
health programs

Star-Bulletin staff

Eleven public health programs have received Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii grants under a community health improvement effort that began after the bubonic plague epidemic in 1899.

A committee of shipping company representatives and importers assessed themselves ten cents per ton of imports to wipe out rats from the wharves after the epidemic closed Honolulu Harbor and quarantined part of the city.

The Public Health Fund Committee of the Chamber of Commerce of Honolulu in 1914 accepted responsibility for collecting voluntary assessments for public health programs.

The collections and fund grew substantially in the 1940s with expansion of the economy and assessments were discontinued in 1950.

Grants since have been limited to interest and dividends from investments of the principal.

Recently receiving awards were:

>> Waikiki Health Center, to provide medicines for indigent patients in its Ho'ola Like primary care Windward and North Shore clinics on Oahu. Many patients have no insurance and can't afford to pay for treatment.

>> Fresh Start, Inc., for a therapeutic women's program. Fresh Start is a structured, supportive living skills program founded in 1997 in Waipahu for people suffering from psychiatric, substance abuse and dual diagnosis problems. The funds will be used for a training program and drug testing for Gender Specific Women's Program-A Therapeutic Community. Fresh Start also received $5,000 recently from the Kosasa Family Fund for the women's program.

>> Domestic Violence Clearinghouse and Legal Hotline, for "Keiki Interventions," the first program of its kind to focus on the needs of children in families affected by domestic violence The grant will be used to support services provided by the agency for children needing advocates in the court system.

>> American Heart Association of Hawaii, for its CPR in Schools program. The grant will be used for educational equipment and supplies for a new cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) program in Oahu middle and high schools. Teachers are trained to integrate CPR training into health and physical fitness classes.

>> Institute of Human Services, for sleeping mats and meal service cleaning supplies. The IHS, the only 24-hour emergency homeless shelter on Oahu , will replace 275 damaged sleeping mats and buy cleaning supplies for food handling areas.

>> Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific, for a spinal cord injury educational handbook patients can use at home when discharged. It will provide practical advice on daily living activities and community resources information.

>> Mental Health Association of Hawaii, to help publish a new edition of the "Finding Help Consumer Guide" that provides information on mental illness and how to find and use mental health services in the community.

>> Alzheimer's Association--Aloha Chapter, community gatekeepers project. The grant will be used to increase information, awareness and openness about the disease among groups working with hard-to-reach communities. These will include groups in rural areas and those dealing with seniors in highly populated areas who are isolated from social services.

>> Word of Life Christian Center, in Kakaako, to start a weight loss support group using the "Weigh Down" program, available to the community as well as congregation members.

>> Kukui Gardens Corp., to help provide services for drug prevention education and intervention through alternative social and educational activities, drug/alcohol-free events and activities. The housing project has more than 2,400 residents in 800 apartments, including more than 500 children ages 6 to 18.

>> Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, for a program to educate the community on the need to correctly use child passenger safety restraints. The program will distribute car seats funded by the state Department of Health to families that can't afford them and provide education on the installation and use of car seats.

To request a grant application for the chamber's Public Health Fund, call 545-4300, or e-mail The next deadline for applications is Dec. 17.

E-mail to City Desk

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