Community Engagement Core

JoAnn Tsark

JoAnn Tsark, MPH, Core Director of the Community-Engaged Research Core, will foster community participation in developing and implementing research that is relevant to community concerns. This includes identifying community research priorities, dissemination of research findings back to the intended communities, elevating community voices in the research enterprise, and building partnerships with CBOs to nurture trust-based collaborations through capacity building and resource sharing to address community-identified, health related concerns.  Ms. Tsark is a Native Hawaiian Public Health educator who has participated in community based research for the past 35 years, working in rural Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities. As the former Research Director of Papa Ola Lokahi,  she has participated in community-based research and program initiatives in chronic diseases disproportionately affecting Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. These include the Wai`anae Cancer Research project on avoidable mortality due to breast and cervical cancers on the Wai`anae Coast (1987-1994) Hua Kanawao ka Liko, Moloka`i Multigenerational R01 Study on Heart Health  (2004-2009);`Imi Hale Native Hawaiian Cancer Network  (UO1CA86105/U54CA153459), a community-based/placed research infrastructure to support emerging Kanaka Maoli researchers in cancer health disparities research (2000-2017), and at UH-JABSOM: RMATRIX (8U54MD007584) and Ola HAWAII (U54MD007601) as co-leader of the Community Engaged Research Core.

May Rose Dela Cruz, DrPH is the Associate Director of the Community Engagement Core for Ola HAWAII.   Her current positions include the Director of Health Equity and Research at the Hawai‘i Public Health Institute and Assistant Researcher at the University of Hawai‘i’s (UH) Office of Public Health Studies (Thompson School of Social Work and Public Health).  Her previous role at ‘Imi Hale Native Hawaiian Cancer Network, a program of Papa Ola Lōkahi, involved the creation of cancer prevention health materials for Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in Hawai‘i.  Dr. Dela Cruz’s current research and interests involve underage drinking prevention, reducing health disparities among Filipinos and increasing COVID-19 vaccination and outreach to Hawai‘i’s most vulnerable communities.  She has received her Bachelor degree in Psychology, Master and Doctoral degrees in Public Health from the University of Hawai‘i.