Scott K. Okamoto, PhD

Scott K. Okamoto, PhD, MSW

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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 and Research Faculty, School of Social Work, Hawaiʻi Pacific University
Adjunct Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Research Division, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

MSW, San Jose State University
PhD, Social Welfare, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Research Focus

Dr. Okamoto's research focuses on the social determinants of health and on developing evidence-based prevention interventions with indigenous and underserved communities. Since 2000, his research has been supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse to examine the social and cultural contexts of substance use (i.e., alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use) for indigenous youth populations, and to translate those findings into culturally focused prevention interventions for those populations. For example, as faculty affiliate with the Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center at Arizona State University, he co-led a multidisciplinary research team in the investigation of ecological factors contributing to substance use initiation for urban American Indian youth of the Southwest. These experiences led to a similar line of community-based participatory research focused on rural Hawaiian youth in Hawai'i. In addition to his current program of research, he has also published in the area of social services and systems of care for youth.

Selected Publications

Okamoto SK, Helm S, Chin SK, Hata J, Hata E, Okamura KH. (2019). The implementation of culturally grounded, school-based, drug prevention curriculum in rural Hawaiʻi. Journal of Community Psychology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/jcop.22222. [NIHMSID: NIHMS1037789].

Okamoto SK, Kulis S, Helm S, Chin SK, Hata J, Hata E, Lee A. (2019). An efficacy trial of the Hoʻouna Pono drug prevention curriculum: An evaluation of a culturally grounded substance abuse prevention program in rural Hawaiʻi. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 10(3), 239-248. doi: [NIHMSID: NIHMS1037440].

Okamoto SK, Kulis S, Helm S, Edwards C, Giroux D. (2014). The social contexts of drug offers and their relationship to drug use of rural Hawaiian youths. Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse, 23(4), 242-252. [PMCID: PMC4029507].

Okamoto SK, Kulis S, Marsiglia FF, Holleran Steiker LK, Dustman P. (2014). A continuum of approaches toward developing culturally focused prevention interventions: From adaptation to grounding. The Journal of Primary Prevention, 35(2), 103-112. [PMCID: PMC3943988].

Okamoto SK, Helm S, McClain LL, Dinson A. (2012). The development of videos in culturally grounded drug prevention for rural Native Hawaiian youth. The Journal of Primary Prevention, 33(5-6), 259-269. [PMCID: PMC4059543].

Publication list via PubMed

Active Grants

S. Okamoto, PI
R34 DA046735, NIDA/NIH
“The Implementation, Adoption, and Sustainability of Hoʻouna Pono“

S. Okamoto, PI
R01 DA037836, NIDA/NIH
“The Development and Evaluation of the Hoʻouna Pono Drug Prevention Curriculum”