What is a digital story? How and why did the Māhina program participants create them. Watch this introduction video by Māhina Program Director Anjulie Ganti (MSW, MPH) to find out!

Epiphany Lototele Nick
Epiphany Lototele Nick’s roots are in Samoa and South Carolina. While studying American Ethnic Studies and Biology at UW, her commitment to serve the community brought her to IWRI, as she wanted to learn more about the magnitude to which health/healthcare disparities disproportionately affect Indigenous and Black communities. As a result, Epiphany realized that her dream is to become a pediatrician. As a Māhina trainee, Epiphany intends to develop her own indigenous lens, allowing her to pursue research with respect to cultural beliefs and attitudes. She is most interested in the effects of historical trauma and research methodologies that address the uses of plant-based traditional medicine.

Stephanie Riedl
Stephanie Riedl (Sts’ailes/Musqueam, First Nations), will be receiving a B.A. in American Indian Studies from the UW with a minor in Diversity Studies. Stephanie has worked in urban schools to implement peer-to-peer crisis intervention education. She has also worked with Neah Bay youth (Makah Tribe) to facilitate digital storytelling projects through the UW Pipeline Program. Stephanie’s research and practice interests include strengthening channels of mental health support for indigenous young people, with an emphasis on youth empowerment, social justice and indigenous resurgence.

Solana Rollolazo
Solana Rollolazo is a Filipino/Alaskan Native (Haida) third-year student at the UW pursuing her B.A. in Medical Anthropology and Global Health with a focus on Pacific Islander studies and a minor in Diversity. Her involvement in the Pacific Islander community through UW’s Polynesian Student Alliance, Tahitian dance troupe Te Fare O Tamatoa, and her cultural explorations in French Polynesia have contributed greatly to her commitment to and passion for addressing indigenous health and wellbeing. Solana is investing her personal and academic endeavors in researching the current use of traditional medicine and practices in Oceania and the role they play in cultural retention and revitalization.

Rachael Tamngin
Rachael Tamngin is of Yapese and American background and is a third-year student studying Physiology and Medical Anthropology. Rachael is actively engaged with the Pacific Islander (PI) community by encouraging PI youth to pursue higher education. Her deep engagement in this area has furthered her commitment to pursue a career in the medical field, where she hopes to work with the PI community and improve health care in Oceania. Rachael is also a skilled dancer and singer.

Chevelle Davis
Chevelle Davis is a third-year Native Hawaiian student at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa. She is a candidate for the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Public Health. She is specifically interested in conducting effective research with indigenous communities, as well as learning how to conduct research and understanding the social and cultural contexts within the population. Upon completion of her Baccalaureate degree, she would like to continue her education and apply to the Graduate Program in Nursing at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa.

Kalei (Brytni) K-Aloha
B. F. Kaleionaia K-aloha is a Native Hawaiian student in public health studies at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa. She was born, raised and continues to reside in Punaluʻu, which is located in the district of Koʻolau Loa on the island of Oahu. She has a passion for Kanaka ‘Ōiwi and other Indigenous people to once again thrive in all areas of life. She is interested in conducting research on the effectiveness of services that are culturally relevant for Native populations. Her long term educational goal is to complete a doctorate degree in Public Health, specializing in Native Hawaiian and Indigenous Health.


Corin Kim
Aloha! My name is Corin Kim and I am from Hilo on the island of Hawaiʻi. I am a fourth year student at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa majoring in Biology and minoring in the Hawaiian Language. After I graduate, I plan to pursue a Masters degree and work towards helping the people of Hawaiʻi in areas of health and language.

Donna‐Marie Palakiko
Donna‐Marie Palakiko is a Native Hawaiian doctoral nursing student in her final year at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa. She completed her Masters of Science degree from the University of California San Francisco with an area of concentration in Nursing, Community and Cross Cultural Health, Program Management and Health Care Administration. She has 12 years of experience working with Native Hawaiian communities as well as knowledge and experience using community-based participatory research approach. She is interested in improving health outcomes through effective and meaningful outcome based health research programs which are coordinated in partnership with community and Native Hawaiian serving organizations.

Gemma Melvena Malungahu
Malo e lelei my name is Gemma Melvena Malungahu and I hail from the Kingdom of Tonga. I was born and raised in South Auckland, New Zealand and I am one of the Tuakana for 2015. The Mahina journey has made me a stronger person, where I have come to realise that no matter where we are in the globe-as Indigenous researchers we have a responsibility-a responsibility to fight for our rights and do our part to mitigate the unjust health inequities that exist within society.

The passing of my grandmother during Mahina opened my eyes to the harsh embodiment of health inequity. Embodied in her were the unjust health inequities that were created by inequitable access to the social determinants of health (i.e. poor income). Type 2 diabetes, congestive heart failure and pneumonia were just a few of her killers. Now she is quantified-seen only as a statistic, added to the high disproportion of poor health outcomes experienced by our peoples.

But why should these health inequities continue to occur? Through Mahina I have learnt that the unjust health inequities that are created and maintained by our oppressors should be NO MORE! Through decolonised and restorative research the deficits in health systems must no longer discount the value of our being. We will utilise ‘our ways of knowing & doing’ so that we shall restore optimum health and wellbeing among our peoples. It is through the resiliency and the strength that was passed onto us by our ancestors that will empower persistence and lead us to VICTORY!!

*Dedicated to you nana, you will always be in my heart.


Nik Wilson
Nik Wilson