April 2023



Moʻolelo: April West-Baker

Window Falls: Tips to keep your Keiki Safe

Rethink Your Drink

Infused Water Ideas

Recipe: Foodland's Fried Saimin

Upcoming Events

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HHAPI Referral Program: Receive a $25 gift card for referring friends or family. Please reach out to our study team for more information.

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Save-The-Date! HHAPI will be in Eugene, OR at the University of Oregon campus on Saturday, April 29th from 9-12pm sharing health, wellness & movement workshops and brunch!

If you live in Oregon, or know someone that does, please kōkua and share this event.

UO Jaqua Center Atrium

1615 E. 13th Ave.

Eugene, OR 97403

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Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander Health Research Study

  • 4 Zoom classes aiming to support healthy blood pressure (1 hour each, every other week for 8 weeks)
  • Small class size (4-6 people)
  • Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander teachers
  • Classes celebrate Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander culture & strengths
  • Health & wellness binder with lessons & resources
  • Peer support & goal-setting 

Are You Eligible?

Do you identify as Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander?

Have you been diagnosed with high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, or prediabetes?

Study participants may receive grocery credits, gift cards, and other items valued at up $350 for their time and effort!

Healthy Hearts Among Pacific Islanders, IRB #16600, has been approved for human subject participation by the Washington State University Institutional Review Board.

Email us to Learn More


April West-Baker

If you are involved or connected to the Hawaiian community in Washington in any way, you know the Baker ʻohana. They are a dynamic duo, a Hawaiian powerhouse couple that continues to inspire Hawaiians living here. Giving kanaka the opportunity to continue to perpetuate their Native Hawaiian culture while living in diaspora (people who have spread or been dispersed from their homeland). We’ll be highlighting Aunty April and focusing on all she’s given back to her community through her dedication and passion for serving and uplifting others.

April Baker chose both education and social work as her career pathway that has included social advocacy and civic engagement with people that have been marginalized. Not just Hawaiians, but women, non-English speaking immigrants and people living with mental, physical or emotional challenges. What was her inspiration for serving others and helping them achieve their dreams? In her own words, she tells us her story.

“In reflecting on the meaning of culture and diversity I draw upon my life and family as they are our first teachers in learning about the world and our place in it. I recall my grandmother’s story, sailing the seas to San Francisco and then traveling to Devil's Slide, Utah, to marry a man she never met and live in a country hostile to her. I recall my mother’s story growing up in Utah, aspiring to be a nurse until WWII, and being told the school would only accept two of “her kind” a year. I recall my father’s story, who struggled in school and quit after the 6th grade. At 16 he joined the army and that opened the door to a GED and a way out of abject poverty.

My story begins in Salinas, California, surrounded by fields of lettuce and migrant farm workers. Alone with my mother, a military wife with a husband deployed to Korea. Then there was Texas where I experienced for the first time the sting of overt racism. Born of parents from different ethnicities, and living in the south at the time civil rights legislation was being born, I learned quickly how other people would assume what my ethnic identity was based on their cultural filters and what they thought certain ethnic groups looked like. It was emotionally dissonant and impacted my sense of self.

These experiences taught me empathy and the ability to listen and observe people in order to fit in and adjust to the cultures. It began as a means of survival until I realized it was a gift and ability to span differences. Growing up in different geographic locations, living on and off military bases, hearing different languages and accents, exposed to a variety of spiritual beliefs and faiths, I saw the humanity in people beyond their circumstances. I view diversity with a wide angle inclusive of ethnicity, culture, language, sexual or gender identity, economic class, age, size, mental, emotional and physical abilities, social status, and spiritual expression.

My career pathway is inspired by my experiences, as I have been an advocate for social justice as is evidenced by the variety of people that I have worked with and organizations that I have served. From wives of US service members primarily from Korea, Japan or Vietnam, experiencing culture shock; as a Planner for the Department of Aging and Long Term Care; as a temporary Social Worker on a Renal Dialysis unit; as an advisor for Native American students at the Puyallup Tribe; as a Washington State delegate to the National Women’s Year conference; as a Board member of Total Living Concept, a non-profit social service agency for adults with developmental disabilities; as a planning member for E Ola Pono, a conference on health and wellness for Native Hawaiians and as an advocate and advisor for first-generation and low-income students with academic challenges that have the potential and desire to learn.

I strive to be the voice of those unseen or heard, to witness and

validate each person's truth, to act as a bridge between needs and resources.”

Share your name, your ʻohana/family names and your favorite ʻāina or wai...what land/water source are you most connected to and why. 


My birth name is April Lee West. I’m the oldest and both parents were born in April and married in April, they didn’t say that’s why I’m named April but I think that’s why (since I’m born in Sept).

My middle name is also my paternal grandmother’s middle name and my first born female cousins also have Lee as a middle name. I gave my oldest daughter Lee as a middle name and she gave her oldest daughter Lee as a middle name.

My mom’s family name is Yamashiro. She and her siblings were born in Devil’s Slide, Utah but her parents are from Hiroshima, Japan. Many were lost during the WWII bombing.

I was born at Ft Ord CA (Dad was in the army) and spent my early years in the Monterey Peninsula area and all my grandparents are buried there, so that feels like home to me. That’s my ‘āina. I spent a lot of time at the beach, so the Pacific Ocean is my wai.

What are you grateful for and why? 

Upon reflecting on my life, I’m grateful for how blessed I’ve been. There’s been challenges but I realize it could have been so much worse. I’m very grateful for the unconditional love of my mom, my aunty and their mother, my grandmother. They gave me a firm foundation and strong sense of self.

What brings you joy? 


Spending time with my granddaughter Lilinoe. She’s 16 and living with CFC (cardio facio cutaneous syndrome). Even though she is non-verbal, she definitely has her own way of communicating and letting you know what she wants and what her mood is. Her smile lights up a room and she’s very affectionate.

During difficult journeys, how do you heal and restore your health and mental well-being? 


Being quiet in nature and letting the elements surround me. The ocean is my favorite place, if I can walk in the sand along the surf and feel the salt mist on my face that helps me to put things in perspective. Looking out on the power of the waves reminds me I’m just one small part of the universe and this too shall pass.

How do you share your manaʻo and mana with your keiki? 


Photos of the past is a good way to open a conversation about what it was like before and how people behaved and why. Food is another way, especially preparing food together and talking about how it grows, or why it’s important, or where it came from and then of course to sit together and enjoy it!

What is your favorite way to move your kino (body)? 


I grew up riding a bicycle, roller skating, climbing fences, playing physical games. I was on my junior high drill team and high school dance team. I still enjoy dancing via Zumba and line dance classes and stretching via yoga.

What is a quote that empowers you? 


A verse from the New Testament that I paraphrase – “In everything, give thanks.” It reminds me it is the way that I want to live my life. I may not understand the circumstances I’m in but it empowers me to look for the silver lining. Life really is too short to waste it in fear, anger or bitterness.

Would you share an easy, healthy-heart recipe that your ʻohana enjoys? 

I do a simple steamed or lightly sauteed till it’s wilted, spinach or kale or broccoli and do a very light dressing of low sodium soy and sesame seed oil. Could also add a sprinkle of sesame seed. With the broccoli you can also add very fine dice of garlic to top it too. With the kale, you could also add in mandarin orange sections tossed in for a sweet balance.

Window Fall Safety Week

As we gear up for spring break and children are spending more time at home, it's important to take note of the everyday dangers that are often overlooked. Unattended windows are one of the greatest risks for a child inside the home. That's why the week of April 2nd is recognized as Window Fall Safety Week. Spring is a great time to open windows and air the house out, but that open window can be dangerous for a child.

Window Fall Prevention Checklist:

• Always actively supervise children around windows.

• Install window stops or locks to prevent windows from opening more than 4 inches.

• Move furniture away from windows to stop children from getting to windows by climbing on the furniture.

• Teach children that playing near windows is not safe.

• Keep closed windows locked.

• Never move a child who appears to be seriously injured after a fall — call 911.

Rethink Your Drink!

Rethink Your Drink!- Living Healthy Hawaii

Drink WATER instead of sugary drinks like soda, sports/energy drinks, juice drinks & coffee/tea drinks!

Good nutrition isn’t only about what you eat… Sugary drinks contain “empty calories” of no nutritional value, meaning they aren’t good for you. And they don’t make you feel full after drinking them, like you would if you had eaten the same number of calories!

Sugary drinks can lead to weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes and other serious health issues.

What is a sugary drink?

A sugary drink is any beverage that contains added sugar or a caloric sweetener, such as soda, fruit-flavored drinks (other than 100% fruit juice), sports drinks, energy drinks and sweetened tea/coffee drinks.

The problem:

Sugary drinks are the number one source of excess sugar in the U.S. diet. On average, Hawaii’s teens drink 8.6 sugary drinks per week — more than any other age group. This means that teens are consuming an extra 1,200 calories per week of no nutritional value.

1,200 calories equals about 86 teaspoons of sugar… this means that the average Hawaii teen is DRINKING 40 pounds of sugar a year! Sugar turns to fat in our bodies, putting Hawaii teens at risk for gaining up to 10 POUNDS of weight in one year.

Water: The Perfect Drink!

Water is calorie-free, sugar-free, fat-free and costs nothing (when it’s from the tap). Water is the BEST CHOICE to rehydrate throughout the day. So, don’t forget to pack your water bottle in the morning and keep it full all day!

How much water do you need?

Teens and adults should drink approximately 9 to 14 glasses (8 oz) of water per day. To prevent dehydration, drink plenty of water throughout the day, even before physical activity or going outdoors.

Tips for Drinking More Water

• Serve water with meals.

• Keep water on hand at work, in school, at home, and in the car.

• Carry a water bottle with you and refill it often.

• Experiment with fruit and herb “infused” water. To do this, mix and

match fruits and herbs to your water, such as strawberries, rosemary, mint, cucumber, lemon, lime or orange wedge.

• Keep a pitcher of water with fruit slices in your refrigerator.

How much sugar is in Hawaiian Sun drinks? A can of Hawaiian Sun guava nectar contains 44 grams of sugar! That’s a lot of sugar to drink. Drink in moderation and maybe add a splash of juice to a can of sparkling water to dilute the amount of sugar.

Recipe: Hawai'i-Style Fried Saimin

We all love fried saimin, but how could we make this local favorite a bit more heart-healthy? Maybe add half the package of noodles and more vegetables like cabbage, onions & broccoli. Instead of using spam or char siu, you could add lighter protein options like tofu or chicken.

Fried saimin is a potluck staple in Hawaiʻi, a stir-fry of curly noodles, Spam (or char siu pork) and veggies seasoned with dry dashi (Japanese soup stock). You’ll see this dish on menus at local restaurants, okazu-ya and saimin stands.


• 2 packages fresh saimin noodles (cooked and drained)

• 4 T. oil

• 2 saimin dashi pack

• 6 oz. Spam (thinly sliced)

• 1 egg, scrambled (cooked ahead of time)

• 1 cup cabbage (shredded)

• 1⁄2 cup carrots (julienne)

• 1⁄2 onion (thinly sliced)

• 6 oz. kamaboko (sliced)

• 3 oz. char siu pork (sliced)

• 1⁄2 cup green onions (sliced )

• 2 T. shoyu (soy sauce)

HAWAIʻI in the Kitchen: Hawaiʻi-Style Fried Saimin - Hawaii Magazine


In a frying pan over medium high heat; add oil then add the spam and char siu. Stir fry for a few minutes. When Spam and char siu is lightly browned, add cabbage, carrots, kamaboko, ½ of the green onion and onions. Continue to stir fry for a few minutes until browned. Add the cooked egg, saimin noodles and dashi packs. After stir frying add the shoyu. Stir fry until shoyu is incorporated then transfer to a serving plate.

Note: Garnish the dish with the rest of the green onion after plating.


Learn how to make local-style fried saimin by Foodland’s Keoni Chang.

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Other Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Health Studies: