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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, December 31, 2001

Activist to use award for women's health project

By Tanya Bricking
Advertiser Staff Writers

Longtime Wai'anae activist Ho'oipo DeCambra quit her paying job as director of the Ho'omau Ke Ola substance abuse treatment program last summer and embarked on an uncertain future, chasing her dream of creating a Women's Wellness Center.

Ho'oipo DeCambra is working to launch a Women's Wellness Center.

Advertiser library photo

The center, which would include traditional medical care, spiritual healing and education, is still in the planning stages. But DeCambra says it's more than a dream.

She is dedicating the $100,000 she was awarded last year as one of 10 national recipients of the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leadership Program to making her idea a reality. She said she hopes to get philanthropists to match her award to get the project off the ground.

She plans to break ground on a center in Wai'anae by 2003. But before that, she wants to share ideas of alternative health care and native healing practices with women and children she says need it most.

"The women who have been visionaries for this see it as tied very much to economics," she said of the project. "Good health equals good economics."

Her next challenge will be to come up with an economic development proposal she hopes will push the project forward, though she says it's too early to say what the project will cost.