Susana Helm, PhD

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Associate Member, Population Sciences in the Pacific Program (Cancer Prevention in the Pacific), University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center

Academic Appointment(s):
Professor, Department of Psychiatry, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Affiliate Faculty, Department of Psychology, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

PhD, Community & Culture Psychology, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Research Focus

Our research team focuses on substance use prevention in rural and Native Hawaiian communities using mixed methods community-based participatory action research strategies (refer to recent pubs listed below). I also contribute to a number of projects designed to eliminate minority and rural health disparities, particularly in the area of mental health, violence, and child & family wellness.

Selected Publications

Cancer Prevention with Rural Native Hawaiian Communities - Qualitative Methods in Youth Drug Prevention

Helm S, Davis K, Haumana. (2017). Challenges and lessons learned in implementing a community-academic partnership for drug prevention in a Native Hawaiian community. P R Health Sci J; 36(2), 101-106.

Helm S, Davis K. Puni Ke Ola. (2017). Drug prevention in rural Hawaiian communities. Glob J Community Psychol Pract, 8(2), 1-6.

Okamoto SK, Helm S, Ostrowski LK, Flood L. (2017). The validation of a school-based, culturally grounded drug prevention curriculum for rural Hawaiian youth. Health Promot Prac. DOI: 10.1177/1524839917704210.

Helm S, Okamoto SK. (2016). Gendered perceptions of drug offers as a context for aggression and violence. J Interpers Violence. DOI: 10.1177/0886260516660301.

Helm S, Lee W, Hanakahi V, Gleason K, McCarthy K, Haumana. (2015). Using photovoice with youth to develop a drug prevention program in a rural Hawaiian community. Am Indian Alsk Native Ment Health Res, 22(1), 1-26. doi: 10.5820/aian.2201.2015.1. PMCID: PMC4401743.

Helm S, Okamoto SK, Medeiros H, Chin CIH, Kawano K, Poa-Kekuawela K, Nebre L, Sele FP. (2008). Participatory Drug Prevention Research in Rural Hawaii with Native Hawaiian Middle School Students. Progress in Community Health Partnerships, 2(4), 307-313. [PMCID: PMC2729072].

Publication list via PubMed

Active Grants

S. Helm, Consortium PI; S. Okamoto, PI
R01 DA037836-01
"The Development and Evaluation of the Hoʻouna Pono Drug Prevention Curriculum"
Aims: 1) Complete Hoʻouna Pono drug prevention curriculum, 2) evaluate curriculum across all middle/intermediate schools on Hawai'i Island; 3) assess community, systemic, and curricular factors related to the implementation, adoption, and sustainability within schools.
6/2015 – 4/2019