Our History

Kalihi-Palama Health Center (KPHC) grew out of a walk-in free clinic that opened in the basement of Kaumakapili Church in 1975.

Many new Americans and their extended families start their life in Hawaii, in the Kalihi and China Town area. Reverend Richard Wong, Auntie Anne Kanahele, Uncle Henry A’arona, and other community leaders at Kaumakapili Church acknowledged the need to provide primary health services to poor Native Hawaiians and immigrants from several Asian countries and the Pacific Islands. The community leaders opened the clinic to meet the need for primary health care services.

In addition to poverty, these residents faced tremendous language and cultural barriers that affected their health and their ability to access both health and social services. Reverend Richard Wong, Auntie Anne Kanahele, and Uncle Henry A’arona broadened the mission to address not only the health care, but also the needs of the whole person including access to food, housing, and the ability to participate in community life in a manner that maintained the dignity of these marginalized residents.

KPHC became a Federally Qualified Community Health Center (FQHC) that provides comprehensive, integrated, healthcare, and social services in 1999. KPHC is a deemed entity covered by the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). KPHC remains committed to the mission and currently serves new Americans and their extended families.

In addition to physical health problems, many of our patients experience behavioral health issues and conditions related to poverty and social isolation.

KPHC staff mirror the cultural diversity of our patients and understand that in addition to physical health matters, behavioral health matters, and social issues need attention. We pay attention to what goes on in our patients’ homes and neighborhoods and seek to provide assistance and links patients to other resources in the community which can help break the cycle of poverty, abuse, and neglect that could otherwise carry from one generation to another.

In 2011, KPHC served 21,500 patients in 17 different languages and cultures – 1,600 of the patients were homeless and 300 received housing and/or homelessness prevention assistance. KPHC emphasizes the health and wellness of our patients and the communities that we serve. Delivering healthcare and social services with cultural proficiency to new Americans and their extended families is KPHC’s distinguishing competency.