DOH MEDIA ADVISORY: Chronic disease symposium highlights the need for statewide policy changes

Posted on Nov 20, 2015 in Latest News, Newsroom, Press Releases

HONOLULU – National experts in chronic disease prevention will join the Department of Health and local experts this Friday at a symposium titled, “The Weight of the State: Solving the Chronic Disease Crisis through Innovative Policy Change.” Dr. Howard Koh, former Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will discuss best practices and policy recommendations that make sense for Hawaii, given the state’s rapidly rising obesity rates and its contribution to debilitating chronic disease and health conditions. Elected officials, leadership from state agencies, healthcare and community organizations, will be in attendance.

A mural developed with input by over 30 organizations statewide will also be unveiled at the symposium. The policies illustrated were highly recommended by more than 140 community partners earlier this year at the 2015 Physical Activity and Nutrition Forum. It depicts the implementation of 19 state-level policies across four sectors of society: Communities, Worksites, Schools, and Health Care Systems. The mural is a vision for Hawaii where physical activity and access to healthy food, are integrated into our daily lifestyle choices, where residents live, learn, work, shop, and care for each other.

WHAT: “The Weight of the State: Solving the Chronic Disease Crisis through Innovative Policy Change” Symposium

WHEN:            Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

11:00 a.m. – Remarks by First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige

11:05 a.m. – Director of Health Virginia Pressler

11:10 a.m. – Unveiling of Mural

11:30 a.m. – Dr. Howard Koh Keynote Presentation

12:00 p.m. – Live interviews available with Dr. Koh, First Lady Dawn Ige, Director of Health Virginia Pressler, and other national and local experts

12:35 p.m. – Panel Discussion on Policy Solutions for Hawaii

WHERE:         The Plaza Club

900 Fort Street Mall # 2000, Honolulu, Hawai‘i

(hosted parking available in the building)

WHO:              Featured speakers include:

Dr. Howard Koh, Former Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Dawn Amano-Ige, First Lady of Hawaii

Dr. Virginia Pressler, Director of Health

Lola Irvin, Administrator, Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Division Hawaii State Department of Health

Dr. Jay Maddock, Dean, School of Public Health, Texas A&M University Jessica Yamauchi, Chair of the Obesity Prevention Taskforce


WHY:              Three in every 5 Hawaii adults are living with at least one chronic disease or condition such as diabetes, heart disease, or cancer. Obesity is associated with a significantly increased risk of chronic disease. Obesity has doubled over the past 15 years, and are putting more people at risk for devastating health and social consequences from chronic diseases like diabetes.

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 Media Contact

Janice Okubo
Communications Office

Ph: (808) 586-4445
Cell: (808) 368-6006