Joseph Keaweaimoku Kaholokula, PhD

Joseph Keaweʻaimoku Kaholokula, PhD

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Faculty Director, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center
Full Member, Population Sciences in the Pacific Program (Cancer Prevention in the Pacific), University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center

Academic Appointment(s):
Professor and Chair, Department of Native Hawaiian Health, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

PhD, MA, Clinical Psychology, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Postdoctoral Fellowship in Clinical Health Psychology


State of Hawaiʻi licensed psychologist (PSY 977), active since 2007
National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology (Registrant #51730)

Honors (most notable)

2019 - Native Hawaiian Health Award, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement/Papa Ola Lōkahi
2017 - Hawaiʻi Business Magazine's "20 for the Next 20" Emerging Leaders
2015 - Robert W. Clopton Award for Distinguished Community Service
2009 - NCMHD/NIH nominee for Presidential Early Stage Career Award for Scientists
2007 - The Judy E. Hall, PhD Early Career Psychologist Award

Research Focus

Dr. Kaholokula's health disparities focuses on identifying the biomedical, behavioral, and socio-cultural factors associated with cardiometabolic related diseases and developing and testing community-based interventions to address these diseases in Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.

Selected Publications

Kaholokula JK, Ing CT, Look M, Delafield R, Sinclair K. (2018). Culturally responsive approaches to health promotion for Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders. Annals of Human Biology, 45(3), 249-263. [Epub 2018, May 29] DOI:10.1080/03014460.2018.1465593.

Kaholokula JK, Look M, Mabellos T, Zhang G, de Silva M, Yoshimura S, Solatoris C, Wills T, Seto TB, Sinclair KA. (2017). Cultural dance program improves hypertension management for Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders: A pilot randomized trial. J Racial Ethn Health Disparities, 4(1), 35-46.

Kaholokula JK, Wilson RE, Townsend CKM, Zhang G, Chen JJ, Yoshimura S, Dillard A, Yokota JW, Palakiko DM, Gamiao S, Hughes CK, Kekauoha BP, Mau MK. (2014). Translating the Diabetes Prevention Program in Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Communities: The PILI 'Ohana Project. Transl Behav Med, 4(2), 149-159.

Kaholokula JK, Stefan K, Mau MK, Nacapoy AH, Kingi TK, Grandinetti A. (2012). Association between perceived racism and physiological stress indices in Native Hawaiians. J Behav Med, 35(1), 27-37.

Kaholokula JK, Nacapoy AH, Grandinetti A, Chang HK. (2008). Association between acculturation modes and type 2 diabetes among Native Hawaiians. Diabetes Care, 31(4), 698-700.

Publication list via PubMed

Active Grants

J. Kaholokula, G. Maskarinec, J. W. Ramos, MPIs
R25 CA244073
“Cancer Research Education, Advancement, Training and Empowerment (CREATE) in the Pacific”
The goal of this training grant is to mentor undergraduate and graduate students living in Hawaiʻi and in the Pacific by providing them with distinctive training experiences both in cancer biology and in population sciences.
07/01/20 – 06/30/25

J. Kaholokula, Co-PI; V. Nerurkar, Co-PI
T37 MD008636
“Transdisciplinary Health Disparities Research Training for Native Hawaiians and Pacific Students”
The goal is to train minority undergraduate and graduate students to conduct summer research in the United States and abroad.
12/01/13 – 11/30/23

J. Kaholokula, Mentor/Advisor; D. Buchwald, PI
NIA/Washington State subaward
P30 AG059295
“Native Alzheimer's Disease Resource Center for Minority Aging Research (NAD-RCMAR)”
The main goal of this project is to describe, understand, intervene on, and mitigate the Alzheimer’s disease health disparities experienced by American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.
09/01/18 – 06/30/23

J. Kaholokula, Co-Director, Community; J. Hedges, N. Mokuau, Co-PIs
U54 MD007601
“Ola Hawaii”
The objective of the Center, named Ola HAWAII, is to grow and support a community of health disparities investigators (the “workforce”) to harness the power of diverse thought (the “thinkforce”) to determine the causes of and interventions for health disparities.
09/01/97 – 06/30/22

J. Kaholokula, PI
The Queen’s Medical Center
“HoʻOulu Kukui“
The main goal of this project is to provide support for the growth and inspiration of the next generation of scholars & clinicians; provide pipeline programs to address diversity and primary care workforce by providing support to the ʻImi Hoʻola post-baccalaureate program; and to support building community capacity through the Ulu Network of providers of care to Native Hawaiians.
07/01/15 – 06/30/21

J. Kaholokula, PI
R01 HL126577
“The KaHOLO Project: Preventing Cardiovascular Disease in Native Hawaiians”
The major goal of this project is to continue a study using community-based participatory research to determine if hula-based training is an effective cardiovascular disease prevention program for Native Hawaiians.
04/21/15 – 01/31/21