New educational video encourages UH Hilo students to seek health support services

The video is supported by an award from the national Gallagher Student Innovative Practices in College Health Fund, which supports innovative practices to improve access to quality healthcare for students.

By Lara Hughes.

Filmmakers conducting interview.
Filmmaker Matthew Nagato (at left) interviews UH Hilo alumnus Zaq Tman for an educational video to encourage students to seek health support services. At right is co-creative director Alexander Bocchieri. Courtesy photos.

With funding received last summer, the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo has produced an educational video this semester to encourage students to seek health support services.

Connie Crihfield and Sulma Gandi.
(l-r) Connie Crihfield and Sulma Gandhi at the award presentation in June.

The $3,500 national Gallagher Student Innovative Practices in College Health Fund award was presented in June to Sulma Gandhi, director of UH Hilo Student Health and Wellness Programs, by Connie Crihfield, chair of the award’s administrative organization, the American College of Health Foundation. The purpose of the fund is to provide financial support to student health centers and their staff for the development of innovative practices that improve access to quality healthcare for students.

Student Health and Wellness Programs at UH Hilo provides care that integrates education and prevention efforts with medical and mental health services, programs, and activities. The Gallagher award was used to produce an educational video entitled, “No Shame, No Blame.”

Gandhi, who applied for the award, says she hopes the film will spark dialog.

“The point of the film is to have a conversation, to understand what are the challenges and barriers for these populations from accessing our services and what we could do to improve our programs,” she explains.

The main focus of the project is to reach segments of the university population that have been less likely to access UH Hilo student support programs. In particular, the film is being produced with a Native Hawaiian and Pacific Island student audience in mind.

The decision to focus on these groups came about as those involved with the program looked at the UH Hilo campus’s statistical data as it relates to students and their wellness. Data shows that these groups of students do not receive counseling services at the same rate as other populations, yet they struggle at the same rates as other students.

Recent UH Hilo graduate Zaq Tman assisted in the making of the film, sharing information with the intended audience as an interviewee. Tman was a peer mentor from the island of Yap who trained in suicide prevention as a gatekeeper while he was a student at UH Hilo.

Gandhi says he was willing to share his experience as a gatekeeper and peer mentor.

“Part of this highlights our diversity at our campus,” Gandhi explains. “It’s a great opportunity for our students to learn and grow.”

Essential to initiating the production of the film was Yolisa Duley, a sociology lecturer specializing in indigenous leadership, health and wellness. Anthony Liu, a specialist in information technology, also assisted in production. The two gave forward momentum to the process by initiating conversations with those who work directly with the Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. Anthony recorded the video interviews with Tman and a few staff members.

Gandhi also enlisted the help of Matthew Nagato, director and founder of Lumos Media, a local production company that has earned acclaim for two films at the Hawaiʻi International Film Festival.

Nagato has experience working in the field of healthcare and is an expert storyteller, which Gandhi says makes him the perfect candidate to bring the project to fruition. Nagato is working on the film with his co-creative director Alexander Bocchieri.

Receiving the Koster award serves as affirmation for Gandhi.

“What I’m thrilled about is that, from a national perspective, they are recognizing that we are such a diverse community and have much to offer to the conversation,” she says. “So, they’re looking at us as leaders to help the discussion, not just here locally, but also nationally.”


About the author of this story: Lara Hughes (senior, business administration) is a public information intern in the Office of the Chancellor.

-UH Hilo Stories.