Jamie Kamailani Boyd learned the art of nursing from her late grandmother, a nurse who raised Boyd when she was a young girl. When her grandmother died, Boyd was sent to a foster care program; eventually, she became a teenage single mother. The hospital's response was to "put the baby in my arms and send me on my way," Boyd recalled. That is when she realized something was wrong with the health care system.
Boyd decided to tackle those problems just as her grandmother had. She became a nurse's aide at a mental health institution and was horrified by what she saw. "I thought that if I could come back as a nurse, I could change things," Boyd said.
And that she did—many times over. She became a nurse practitioner at health center clinics in Maui and Oahu, earned her doctorate in nursing, became a professor and created the Pathway out of Poverty program at Windward Community College. Based on a philosophy grounded in the Hawaiian value of kuleana—the individual and collective responsibility for the functioning and advancement of society—the program puts disadvantaged students and native Hawaiians on a career path in nursing, helping them advance from nurse's aides to registered nurses.
Her goals for the program are to reduce poverty, increase representation of native Hawaiians in nursing, and improve the quality of nursing care by training more empathetic and culturally competent providers. Today, Boyd trains about 50 nurse's aides a year, approximately one-quarter of whom go on to pursue an RN degree. "This is the best medicine I ever practiced," said Boyd.
For developing an approach to breaking the cycle of poverty and improving the quality of nursing care, Boyd has been named one of 10 recipients of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Community Health Leaders Award. The award honors exceptional men and women who have overcome significant obstacles to tackle some of the most challenging health and health care problems facing their communities. Boyd received the award during a ceremony in Baltimore, Md., on November 9.
"Dr. Jamie Kamailani Boyd's Pathway out of Poverty program emphasizes Hawaiian traditions, fosters cultural pride, and integrates healthy living education," said Kathryn L. Braun, DrPH, professor of public health and social work, University of Hawaii. "It also helps students toward long-term socioeconomic stability, through a training pathway from nurse's aide to licensed practical nurse to registered nurse—a pathway Jamie developed based on her own experience as a single mother who worked herself up from a nurse's aide to nurse practitioner and now professor."
2011 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Community Health Leaders Are Helping People Lead Healthier Lives
- 1 Nurse Helps Disadvantaged Hawaiians Overcome Poverty and Become Nurses
- 2 Korean Immigrant Helps Elderly Asians Access Culturally Sensitive Home Care
- 3 Community Advocate Helps Rural Poor Age in Their Own Homes
- 4 Advocate Puts a New Twist on the Traditional Soup Kitchen
- 5 Pennsylvania Physician Provides Health Care, Hope to Working Poor
- 6 Rural Health Systems Manager Expands Access to Health Care in Kansas Farm Belt
- 7 Andrea Ivory Saves Lives by Helping Vulnerable Women Detect Breast Cancer Early
- 8 Delaware Mom Helps Disabled Patients Manage Routine Health Exams
- 9 Grieving Father Helps Families of Children With Cancer Navigate Health System
- 10 Latino Immigrant Educates and Supports Hispanic New Yorkers in Need
RWJF Scholar examines neighborhood-based death rates from opiate-based painkiller overdoses, compared with heroin overdose deaths.
This month the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health published a special issue of its magazine devoted to food.
Unengaged patients can incur costs of up to 21% higher than patients who are highly engaged in care. This suite of materials from RWJF's AF4...
The LEAP project identified 30 primary care practices that use health professionals and other staff in ways that maximize access to their se...
Learn how The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is dedicated to building a culture of health in Risa Lavizzo-Mourey's 2014 annual message.
Adverse working conditions contribute substantially to the risk of depression for working-age adults, according to new research from a team ...
List of most current annual reports.
A national conversation highlighting efforts to improve care transitions, reduce avoidable hospital readmissions, and lift overall quality o...
The Health and Medical Care Archives at the University of Michigan's Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research is the of...
The reconvened Commission to Build a Healthier America will provide new guidance in three key areas: early childhood, healthy communities, a...
The RWJF DataHub tracks state-level data, and allows visitors to customize and visualize facts and figures.
Team members, grantees, and guests discuss breakthrough ideas that will allow us to move toward solving challenges in health care.