Bringing Good Health To All

By Matthew Nagato
Communications Director, Hawaii Primary Care Association

Much of the debate about health care has centered on the medical system: whether you have insurance and access to a doctor, or how providers will interact with one another through technology and transform the practice of medicine. Lost in all of this is the fact that despite spending trillions each year, the state of our health is worsening.

Our collective obsession with the system of medicine has allowed the social causes of our poor health to go unnoticed. These origins of health – education, poverty, employment, housing and nutrition, among others – actually account for the majority of health outcomes in our society.


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Matthew Nagato (right, in blue) and crew prepare to interview Anne Cross (left), a teacher at Keaau Elementary School, about the Mighty Milers Program | Photos from Hawaii Primary Care Association

In partnership with the state Department of Health, the Hawaii Primary Care Association (HPCA) has produced a local documentary, Ola: Health is Everything, that explores the widespread social causes of our health care crisis and the power of communities to heal themselves.

We traveled to some of the most rural areas in our state, and whether the problem to confront was education, housing, fitness or agriculture, we found people striving to help others live stronger, healthier lives.

In the midst of scarcity we found abundance, in the midst of anguish we found joy, and in the midst of hardship we found hope. We found that health is everything.

The film, which premiered at the Hawaii International Film Festival in April, has screened across the state and received widespread acclaim for its compelling and inspirational message. Ola honors our common island heritage and demonstrates that the path to a healthy, sustainable future for Hawaii can be found in our oldest, most-cherished values.

For more than 20 years, HPCA has been working on behalf of vulnerable populations throughout our state and helping to establish access to primary health care services for everyone. We believe in nurturing vibrant and healthy communities that work together, and are committed to the partnerships, innovation and team-work that will transform our health care system and improve the lives of all Hawaii’s people.

To learn more about the film, find future screenings or request a showing for your organization and community, visit