Board Member, President: Blane Pomaikai Benevedes
Pōmaikaʻi Benevedes has been an active practitioner of the Pā Ola Hawaiʻi style of lomilomi for the last 10 years. A native of Oʻahu, he is a Cultural Specialist at the Kamehameha Schools. He is an educator and storyteller, and finds great passion in the efforts that are supported by Hui Mauli Ola. His other lomilomi affiliations include Ka Pā o Lonopūhā and Pā Iwi Ola.
Pōmaikaʻi is also a member of Hale Mua o Kualiʻi and Hulu Mamo Hawaiian Civic Club. In 2011, he earned a masters degree from the Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies with a focus in Kūkulu Aupuni and Moʻolelo ʻŌiwi.
Board Member, Vice President: Diane Paloma
Diane Paloma is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The King William Charles Lunalilo Trust. As CEO she implements strategic initiatives that extend the reach and impact of Lunalilo Home’s mission to support the well-being of kūpuna. She is the former director of the Native Hawaiian Health Program at The Queen’s Health Systems. She has spent time working for a private physician, HMSA (Blue Cross/Blue Shield Affiliate for Hawaii), the John A. Burns School of Medicine and has been at Queen’s since 2006. She has been a board member of Hui Mauli Ola since 2011.
Board Member, Secretary: Donna-Marie Palakiko
Donna-Marie Palakiko, PhD, RN, APRN, a Native Hawaiian, is honored to be a board member for Hui Mauli Ola. Her commitment to improving the life of Native Hawaiians began at a young age when the realities of health disparities robbed her of knowing her paternal grandfather. Her commitment is further driven after the loss of three generations within a 9-month span including her first born son.
When asked, what do you consider your role to be in the community? Donna says that she considers herself to be a health strategist working towards addressing the community’s needs and wants. It’s only through partnership that we are able to achieve optimal health.
Donna has over 20 years of Native Hawaiian community-based program management and research experience. Her career started as a staff nurse at Stanford University Medical Center on a Bone Marrow Transplant Unit. In 2002, she left bedside nursing and returned home to Hawai‘i to work with her people.
Outside of her professional career, Donna is an active member of her Parish, a student of Halau Hula O Maiki, and member of ‘Ahahui Kaiulani. In her free time, she enjoys reading novels and travelling, because to live is to experience life to its fullest!
Board Member, Treasurer: Kat Burke
Katherine Burke is a doctoral candidate in the Office of Public Health Studies at University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. Her dissertation focus is on interprofessional curriculum development on the social determinants of kānaka ʻōiwi health, allyship through advocacy, social justice and health equity. Previously she worked as volunteer coordinator at Kōkua Kalihi Valley and evaluation specialist for Ho’oulu ʻĀina and Ehuola ‘Ohana Health Program. Originally from Connecticut she has lived on O’ahu since 2004 and is of Greek, French, Irish and Romanche ancestry. She joined the board of Hui Mauli Ola in 2018 and brings with her a love of roots, plant medicine, mud and pulling weeds.
Board Member: Radine Kawahine Kamakea-Ohelo
‘Kawahine’ as she is best known became a member to the Hui Mauli Ola Board of Directors in December, 2018. For over three decades she has been involved with social-political-environmental issues impacting Native Hawaiians and her community. Volunteered in serving the Committee of Hawaiian Affairs 1978 Constitutional Convention, chaired by A. Frenchie DeSoto she recalls as an epic moment for establishing and re-affirming the sustainable rights of Native Hawaiians. In 1977 became a member of the Protect Kahoolawe Ohana (PKO) and 1979 along with other PKO members served as trailblazers uncovering cultural historical sites on the island and co-coordinator for Oahu in organizing access to Kaho’olawe island. She became in 1989 a co-founder of the Waimanalo Health Center and assisted in the initial phase of creating the Hau’ula Community Health Center. Also in 1994 was co-founder of the health maintenance organization AlohaCare, Inc. with other community health centers. In 2015 graduated from the University of Hawai’i Manoa with a Masters in Social Work. Kawahine participated in 2016 in the Na’I Aupuni Aha, a convention that would deliberate on self-determination for Native Hawaiians for she believes in the noeau: aʻohe puʻu kiʻekiʻe ke hoʻaʻo ʻia e piʻi, meaning ʻno cliff is so tall it cannot be climbedʻ. Sheʻs employed by RCM, an agency contracted by the state Dept. of Education to provide behavior health services to children with disabilities. She currently resides on Waimanalo Homestead where she raised her eight children.
Board Member: Keola Silva
Keola Silva is a doctoral candidate in the Educational Foundations program at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and an Interim Vice Principal at Kamehameha Elementary Schools. Prior to his current position, Keola served as a Physical Education and Health Education specialist for 15 years at various schools in Hawaiʻi. He was a former Residential Coordinator for Nā Pua Noʻeau and served as a Kua for the Protect Kahoʻolawe ʻOhana (PKO) in the early 2000s. His passion for health, wellness, and education; combined with his love for his culture and people, constantly drives him to research and apply the ʻike of our kūpuna to modern day practices, to help build a healthier Lāhui. Outside of work and school, Keola enjoys spending time with ʻohana and friends, and fishing. Keola is honored to humbly serve Hui Mauli Ola as a board member.