Established in 1988 within the Native Hawaiian Health Care Act, the NHHSP provides awards to Native Hawaiian students seeking degrees in the health care professions. The purpose is to increase the number of Native Hawaiians in health and allied health professions, thereby increasing access to acceptable health care delivery for those who seek it.

The Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program (NHHSP) addresses access to health care by developing a Native Hawaiian health care workforce of professionals committed to serve the unique health needs of Hawaiian communities. The program recruits and nurtures professionals in-training for primary health care disciplines and specialties most needed to deliver quality, culturally competent health services to Native Hawaiians throughout the State of Hawai‘i.

In addition to requiring admittance to accredited schools and programs, this merit-based program awards generous scholarships to eligible individuals that appear to be dedicated to providing primary health services to Native Hawaiians and their families in Hawai‘i.

Recipients are obligated to serve full-time in medically under-served areas in Hawai‘i for two (minimum) to four (maximum) years, depending upon the length of time of scholarship support.

Students pursuing degrees in eligible professions who are enrolled full-time at an accredited college or university are eligible to apply.  Scholars will receive funding for tuition, books, other related educational costs, and a monthly stipend while enrolled full-time in an accredited university/college program. A coordinated service plan (licensure, service site) will be designed specifically for each graduate.

Since 1991, more than 330 scholarships have been awarded to Native Hawaiians across 20 health and allied health professions, such as:

  • Clinical Psychology (PhD or PsyD)
  • Dental Medicine (DMD or DDS)
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Dietitians or Nutritionists (Masters-Level)
  • Nursing
    • Associates Degree (ADN)
    • Bachelor’s Degree (BSN)
    • Master’s Degree (MSN)
    • Nurse Midwifery (MSN)
    • Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (MSN)
      • Adult / Geriatrics
      • Community / Public Health
      • Family Health
      • Pediatrics
    • Doctorate Degree (DNP)
  • Primary Care and Ophthalmology Physician (Allopathic or Osteopathic, MD or DO)
  • Physician Assistant (Masters-Level)
  • Social Work (Masters-Level)

The application process opens on February 1st, and applications are accepted through March 15th. Click here for a list of eligible professions and to learn more.

Learn about our most recent 2023-2024 NHHSP awardees here

Program Staff

  • Donna-Marie Palakiko, PhD

    Director of Workforce Development

  • Chez Neilson

    Program Specialist

  • Nani Espinda

    Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program Coordinator

  • Lisa Ka‘ano‘i

    she/her/ʻo ia

    Workforce Lead Coordinator

  • Aubrey Mariano


    Administrative Support

  • Conan Wykes


    Program Specialist


Donna-Marie Palakiko, PhD
(808) 597-6550