Community Health Workers (CHWs) are frontline, trained and trusted individuals of the community who have deep connections and understandings of the community being served. The Hawai‘i Community Health Worker Association (HICHW) was developed to identify tools of support, education, and collaboration needed to assist fellow CHWs to mālama their communities.
Claudia Hartz, Behavioral Health Patient Navigator at Hawai’i Island Community Health Center, Claudia has been a part of Hawaii Island Community Health Center, previously known as West Hawaii Community Health Center, for over nine years.
Claudia received her BA. in Transborder Chicano/Latino studies at Arizona State University. Her focus in college was Community Health and Development. She was a research assistant for the Department of Transformative Studies during college. She worked under the supervision of Dr. Rudy Guevarra. The project gave Claudia the knowledge and data related to Hispanic/Latino communities on the islands of Hawai’i. Claudia’s responsibilities were to interview Hispanics living on the Big Island. Claudia completed her Master’s in Social Work through the University of Hawai’i Manoa Distance Education and dedicated her capstone to migrant seasonal agriculture workers in Hawai’i, creating a Migrant Seasonal Agricultural worker toolkit.
Claudia is bilingual and fluent in both Spanish and English. Before coming to Hawai’i, she worked as a Spanish medical interpreter for Phoenix Children’s Hospital in Arizona for over 17 years. In the fall of 2015, she completed “Bridging the Gap” through the Office of Language Access Hawaii State Department of Health and is part of their roster offering Language services on the West Side of Hawai’i.
Claudia’s responsibilities as a Behavioral Health Patient Navigator are linking the underserved community to resources and helping clients with medical and behavioral health care barriers. Claudia is working towards her goal of becoming a licensed clinical Social Worker.
Claudia is a NACHW (National Community Health Worker Association and PATH (People for Active Transportation) board member. Claudia is also an advisor for the A.L.O.H.A. Latinos Association on Big Island.
Location: Hawai‘i Island
Gracie Flores was born and raised in Hilo on the Island of Hawai`i. She has worked as a Community Health Worker with UnitedHealthcare since 2015, and has over 15 years of experience in the human services field. Gracie served as the first Vice Chair of the Hawai`i Community Health Workers Association. Gracie is currently a member of the East Hawai`i Coalition to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect, East Hawai`i Community Action Network, Malama Ka `Aina Hana Ka `Aina King’s Landing Community Association, and the National Community Health Workers Association. She has a passion for improving the health of our communities and advocating for CHWs in the state of Hawai`i. When she’s not working, Gracie enjoys spending time with her `ohana, camping, going holoholo, growing food in her garden, and exploring the beauty of Hawai`i, her home.
Cyd L. Hoffeld
Location: Hawai’i Island
Cyd L. Hoffeld was the Health Promotions Manager for Bay Clinic, Inc. and is now the Community Health Educator Supervisor for Hawai’i Island Community Health Center (HICHC) in East Hawaiʻi ~ A Network of Community Health Centers serving 75% of Hawaiʻi Island.
As a Kānaka ʻŌiwi born and raised in Hilo, she is culturally grounded in her community. During her 22 years with Bay Clinic, her roles included Family Planning/Health Educator, outreach coordinator, community/partner liaison, HIV/AIDS/Hep C Counselor & Tester Specialist, credentialing specialist, youth center program manager, and providing community presentations on the topics of: Reproductive Anatomy & Physiology; Teen Pregnancy Prevention; STD/HIV/Hep C Prevention; Puberty; Healthy Relationships; Intimate Partner Violence Prevention, and more.
As part of her new role with HICHC, she is also the East Hawaiʻi Community Health Worker Supervisor. Her CHW staff enrolls individuals and families into MedQuest, Marketplace, or Medicare programs. They participate in Community Outreach and Street Medicine Outreach activities. They also offer health screenings & referrals and provide culturally appropriate health information to clients in community-based settings.
When Cyd is not working, she enjoys sleeping in, camping with her husband, spending lots of time with her ʻohana, reading, and playing Sudoku.
Location: Hawai’i Island
Loren was born and raised in Kwajalein, in the Marshall Islands. He has a BA in Mass Communications and a MAT in early childhood and elementary ed. For the past seven years, he has been in the community health worker field, working primarily with youth and adults with disabilities. He is currently a member of the Tobacco for Hawaii Island Coalition Committee and various HICHW subcommittees. He is also a secretary for the Next Steps committee (group dedicated to providing support to the Micronesian West HI community). He has a passion for teaching, working with youth, and empowering others to educate themselves. In his spare time, he enjoys being outdoors with his ohana here on the Big Island. Favorite hobbies include creative writing, swimming, and going to the movies.
Kelli Anne Murakami
Born and raised on the Island of Oʻahu. Kelli is a proud McKinley Tiger and University of Hawai’i at Manoa alumni. Graduating with both Bachelor’s and Master’s in Social Work, currently working at Kula No Na Poʻe Hawaii O Papakōlea Kewalo Kalawahine in Papakōlea.
In 2019, Kelli received her Community Health Worker Certificate from Kapiolani Community College. When not working, Kelli is a planner gal who loves Disney, Pokemon Go, and all types of stationery!
Location: Hawai’i Island
Cynthia Crabtree, a dedicated Community Health Worker based in Hilo, Hawai’i, is a driving force behind her community’s well-being. Affiliated with Hawaii U Telehealth and her local AHSRHA, Cynthia specializes in grant writing and advocating for digital equality legislation. Her commitment also extends to scheduling digital literacy classes for Hawai’i County Kupuna and aiding rural clients with telehealth setup. A devoted mother and skilled digital artist, Cynthia’s multifaceted talents and dedication make her an invaluable asset. Cynthia embodies the essence of a true Community Health Worker, shaping positive change in Hilo.
Ashley was born in Maui and raised in beautiful Kihei. She attended Maui High School and went to Missouri Valley College, where she received her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science with a Minor in Psychology. Ashley always felt a strong desire to serve and meet the needs of our local community. Working as a community health professional has given her many opportunities to positively impact our locals’ health and well-being. Ashley joined Hui No Ke Ola Pono in January of 2023 and her commitment to our community truly shows through her hard work. Ashley loves being outdoors, traveling, enjoying a great meal, and being a student of life.
Maile Holokai was born and raised in Kīhei on the island of Maui. She has worked as a Community Health Worker with UnitedHealthcare since 2017 and has 20+ years of experience in the healthcare field. Maile does outreach work as a Community Health Worker to assist community members in identifying barriers and increasing engagement with the healthcare system. She is also utilized in the Health Coordination role, conducting Health Risk Assessments to identify social determinants of health, developing Health Action Plans, and conducting annual Health Functional Assessments.
Maile received her academic CHW certificate of competence in 2018. She received her Master of Social Work in 2023 through the Thompson School of Social Work & Public Health at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Maile recently received her LSW license.
Maile is currently a member of the National Association of Community Health Workers, Maui Community Partners, Maui Homeless Alliance, and the National Association of Social Workers Hawai’i Chapter.
Alisha Mollena Na-O
Denise “Ola” Ropa
Denise “Ola” has lived in this unique and close-knit community on the Island of Lana’i for about 30 years. Ola’s path to a career in community health started with a foundation in service-related fields, where she refined her interpersonal abilities and deepened her sense of civic duty.
Ola is currently attending the University of Hawai’i-West O’ahu (UHWO) to further her education because she is passionate about impacting the lives of those around me. She is committed to earning a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration with a Community Health concentration by May 2024. Like her ancestors before her, her life experiences have enhanced her desire to meet the unique wellness needs of her island community.
Ola is excited to discover fresh, fascinating advancements in public health and learn new and creative approaches to improve our ‘aina and its people’s health. Her ultimate goal is to significantly influence how Lana’i develops into a vibrant society on all levels—spiritually, mentally, physically, and socially.
David Mamae is a CHW who is the Community Program Manager for Pear Suite, a healthcare tech company that empowers CHWs to address their communities’ social determinants of health needs through their care navigation platform. David works to improve the overall health of the residents of Hawai’i by exploring and collaborating with other organizations in Hawai’i, including healthcare providers, clinics, and healthcare systems, as well as state and community-based organizations.
Currently, David is a member of the Workforce Development Committee for both the National Association of Community Health Workers (NACHW) and the Hawaii Community Health Workers Association (HICHW) and acts as a liaison between the two organizations. David’s goal is to help promote the CHW profession both nationally and locally while highlighting the uniqueness of Hawaii’s diverse CHW community.
Crystal Caday-Bargayo was born and raised on the island of Kauai. She completed her CHW certificate at Kauai Community College. She is involved with various service clubs in her community: East Kauai Lions Club, KFCC, KCA, KFWC, and KBR. She has been working in social services with different agencies for several years.