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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

    Cancer Prevention with Rural Native Hawaiian Communities - Qualitative Methods in Youth Drug Prevention

  • 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.
  • Helm S, Okamoto SK. (2016). Gendered perceptions of drug offers as a context for aggression and violence. J Interpers Violence. DOI: 10.1177/0886260516660301.
  • 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.
  • Helm S, Okamoto SK, Medeiros H, Chin CIH, Kawano K, Poa-Kekuawela K, Nebre L, Sele FP. (2008). Participatory Drug Prevention Research in Rural Hawaii with Native Hawaiian Middle School Students. Progress in Community Health Partnerships, 2(4), 307-313. [PMCID: PMC2729072].

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