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Kauai Community College nursing student, Kelsey Olena Molina, was selected to receive a tuition award from Hua Moon Women’s Health in Kapaa. Owners and Nurse Practitioners Sharon Offley and Colleen Bass presented $1,000 to the 2021 graduate on Friday.

A desire to create a landscape where healthcare providers are reflective of the community inspired the Healthcare Equity Award, which gave preference to Hawaiian applicants intending to practice on Kauai.

“Olena was chosen because of her passion and commitment to healthcare on Kauai. As a Kauai native and a part of the Hawaiian culture, she holds the vision to address the ongoing social inequities in her community,” said Bass.

Second year KCC nursing students submitted their applications that addressed under-represented healthcare providers and healthcare disparities, nationally and locally. Submission themes ranged from equity, racial and social justice, gender inclusivity, full access to reproductive healthcare, and diversity and representation in healthcare.

“Growing up here, I recognized how most healthcare professionals had moved here from out of state and were often older, caucasian men. I think it might have negatively influenced local children’s perception and set an image in their minds of possibility. Creating self-doubt or not ever fathom being a doctor themselves,” Molina wrote in her essay.

Hua Moon Women’s Health raised the funds with t-shirt and tank top sales. The shirts featured work by Anahola artist Maile Miyake who illustrated a floral representation of a woman’s uterus, dubbed a “cuterus.”

Hua Moon Women’s Health held a similar fundraiser with a local jewelry designer in 2020 to offset the cost of an ultrasound machine.

“We think endlessly about how we can best serve the community of women, teens and families on Kauai. If we can make specialty appointments more available or shape the future of local healthcare with awards like these, then we’re fulfilling our mission,” said Offley.