Waikiki Health: 49 Years of Service to the Community

In 1967, a handful of community members concerned about the growing problem of drug use among Waikiki’s young people decide to take action – They establish the Waikiki Drug Clinic. Their response to an unmet community need becomes the foundation for Waikiki Health (WH), which has been providing quality medical care and social services to vulnerable populations ever since – in Waikiki and across Oahu, with outreach services throughout the State of Hawaii. Today, Waikiki Health is a multi-service, multi-site non-profit agency, which still focuses on meeting community needs, providing more than 37,000 patient visits annually.

1970 – 1980: Our small clinic evolves into a multi-service health center

  • Our clinic begins offering expanded primary and preventive care. Funding from the Aloha United Fund (later Aloha United Way), supports the hiring of Dr. Neal Winn (clinic co-founder) as our first part-time physician; the clinic becomes a 501 (c)(3) non-profit agency.
  • Waikiki Drug Clinic changes its name to “Waikiki Health Center.”
  • Rev. Frank Chong, serving as Executive Director, expands the clinic’s reach and program services, and is one of Hawaii’s strongest advocates for better community health.

1981 – 1990: We move to 277 Ohua Avenue and introduce innovative outreach programs –Care-A-Van, Friendly Neighbors and Youth Outreach

  • 277 Ohua Avenue is the former living quarters of the Sisters of Saint Augustine. Individual rooms have sinks — perfect for exam rooms!
  • Under Dr. Elliot Kalauawa’s leadership, Waikiki Health Center begins offering the most comprehensive care in Hawaii for HIV patients. Two providers, including Dr. Kalauawa, are certified through the American Academy of HIV Medicine.
  • Waikiki Health Center operates the state’s only 330(h) “Healthcare for the Homeless” Program (Care-A-Van), sub-contracting to several other Hawaii health centers.
  • Our network of programs and services continues to expand: In 1986, we begin our Friendly Neighbors Program to assist Waikiki’s older seniors; and in 1989 establish Youth Outreach (YO), providing services and support to homeless teenagers.

1991 – 2010: Marked by new services, Ohua Clinic’s expansion and our upgrade to Electronic Health Records

  • Traditional Hawaiian Healing is incorporated into our primary care program.
  • WHC is named one of Hawaii Business Magazine’s “Best Places to work” (2007).
  • Paul Strauss, WHC’s former Executive Director (2003-2007); and Sheila Beckham, RD, MPH, the agency’s CEO, drive the agency’s many expansion initiatives.
  • We are awarded federal funding to purchase Oahu’s first Mobile Medical Clinic — an “exam room on wheels.” Our Care-A-Van program is now able to take the privacy of the clinic to the beaches and rural areas of Oahu to serve the homeless wherever they are situated.
  • Federal stimulus funding and generous gifts from donors support renovations and upgrades at the Ohua Clinic, including the construction of three additional wheelchair-accessible exam rooms, reaching a total of 15 exam rooms, and the Waikiki Health Center Pharmacy.
  • WHC makes the agency-wide move to electronic health records (EHR), streamlining business operations and enhancing the patient experience.

2011 and Beyond: We begin operating PATH Clinic and Next Step Shelter, re-brand as Waikiki Health, and established our first Dental Clinic

  • PATH Clinic provides obstetrics/gynecology, targeting pregnant and parenting women, many with a history of substance abuse; WH introduces primary medical care, pediatrics, a Family Literacy Program and other new services.
  • Next Step Shelter, our emergency homeless shelter, helps empower individuals through job training and other support services.
  • We begin a Re-branding Campaign – changing our name to “Waikiki Health” – to create greater awareness of all that the agency has to offer.
  • To meet the growing demand for our services, we establish Makahiki Medical and Dental Clinic in McCully-Moiliili (opening in early 2014). The new site will house eight exam rooms and seven dental operatories – providing Primary Medical Care, integrated Behavioral Health and Oral Health Services.
  • Waikiki Health acquires a Patient Transport Vehicle to shuttle patients among the agency’s growing number of clinics and program locations to increase access to care.
  • Waikiki Health institutes a Preventive Health and Utilization Dept. – and a team-based approach to providing care – in line with our moving toward the status of a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH). The PCMH model follows standardized, evidence-based guidelines for assuring quality care and improved health outcomes.

We hope that you will find your “health care home” at Waikiki Health, where you will be welcomed by our care team and receive comprehensive, expert care.


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