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Susana Helm, PhD

Susana Helm, PhD
  • Associate Member
    Population Sciences in the Pacific Program (Cancer Prevention in the Pacific)
    University of Hawaii Cancer Center
  • Academic Appointments

  • Professor
    Department of Psychiatry
    John A. Burns School of Medicine
    University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • Affiliate Faculty
    Department of Psychology
    University of Hawaii at Manoa


  • PhD, Community & Culture Psychology
    University of Hawaii at Manoa

Research Focus

Our research team focuses on substance use prevention in rural and Native Hawaiian communities using mixed methods community-based participatory action research strategies (refer to recent pubs listed below). I also contribute to a number of projects designed to eliminate minority and rural health disparities, particularly in the area of mental health, violence, and child & family wellness.

Selected Publications

    Substance Use Prevention with Rural Native Hawaiian Communities
  • Helm S, Davis K, Haumana. (2017). Challenges and lessons learned in implementing a community-academic partnership for drug prevention in a Native Hawaiian community. P R Health Sci J; 36(2), 101-106.
  • Helm S, Davis K. Puni Ke Ola. (2017). Drug prevention in rural Hawaiian communities. Glob J Community Psychol Pract, 8(2), 1-6.
  • Okamoto SK, Helm S, Ostrowski LK, Flood L. (2017). The validation of a school-based, culturally grounded drug prevention curriculum for rural Hawaiian youth. Health Promot Prac. DOI: 10.1177/1524839917704210.
  • Helm S, Okamoto SK. (2016). Gendered perceptions of drug offers as a context for aggression and violence. J Interpers Violence. DOI: 10.1177/0886260516660301.
  • Okamoto SK, Kulis S, Helm S, Lauricella M, Valdez JK. (2016). An evaluation of the Ho`ouna Pono curriculum: A pilot study of culturally grounded substance abuse prevention for rural Native Hawaiian youth. J Health Care Poor Underserved, 27(2), 815-833. DOI: 10.1353/hpu.2016.006.
  • Lauricella M, Valdez JK, Okamoto SK, Helm S, Zaremba C. (2016). Culturally grounded prevention for minority youth populations: A systematic review of the literature. J Primary Prev, 37(1), 11-32, doi: 10.1007/s10935-015-0414-3.
  • Helm S, Lee W, Hanakahi V, Gleason K, McCarthy K, Haumana. (2015). Using photovoice with youth to develop a drug prevention program in a rural Hawaiian community. Am Indian Alsk Native Ment Health Res, 22(1), 1-26. doi: 10.5820/aian.2201.2015.1. PMCID: PMC4401743.

  • Rural Mental Health
  • Helm S, Kissinger D, Agoha R, Goebert D, Tanabe R, Alicata D. 2016). Telepsychiatry in an academic-community partnership. Perceptions on teamwork. J Rural Ment Health, 40(2), 103-112. DOI 10.1037/rmh0000048.
  • Chung-Do JJ, Bifulco K, Antonio M, Tydingco T, Helm S, Goebert D. (2016). A cultural analysis of the NAMI-NH Connect suicide prevention program by rural community leaders in Hawai`i. J Rural Ment Health, 40(2), 87-102. DOI 10.1037/rmh0000044.
  • Alicata D, Schroepfer A, Unten T, Agoha R, Helm S, Fukuda M, Ulrich D, Michels S. (2016). Telemental health training, team building, and workforce development in cultural context. The Hawai'i experience. J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol, 26(3), 260-265, doi:10.1089/cap.2015.0036.

Publication list via PubMed

Active Grants

  • S. Helm, Consortium PI; S. Okamoto, PhD, Hawaii Pacific University, PI
    R01 DA037836-01
    "The Development and Evaluation of the Ho'ouna Pono Drug Prevention Curriculum" Aims: 1) Complete Ho'ouna Pono drug prevention curriculum, 2) evaluate curriculum across all middle/intermediate schools on Hawai'i Island; 3) assess community, systemic, and curricular factors related to the implementation, adoption, and sustainability within schools.
    6/2015 – 4/2019
  • S. Helm, Evaluation team member; Robert Nichols, PhD, University of Hawaii, PI
    P20 GM10346612
    "INBRE III Institutional Development Award (IDeA) Network for Biomedical Research Excellence"
    Expand the biomedical research capacity in Hawaii by focusing on undergraduate education & training in biomedical sciences and supporting junior investigators.