Written by: Diana Hembree

Maui is famed for its white sand beaches and beautiful ocean, mountain trails and waterfalls. But for people who live on the island, there is another side to Maui that visitors don’t often see. Many struggle with unstable, low-wage jobs, grinding poverty and homelessness. With pandemic woes, tourism driving up rents while vacation rentals shrink the supply of available housing, and the earlier shutdown of Maui’s last sugar plantation, more have joined the unhoused residents, including families with children, who are living in cars and encampments along the coasts.

In this film, we join a mobile healthcare team from the Community Clinic of Maui and see telehealth in action as they visit the island’s tent communities that house hundreds of people. The filmmakers accompany team members as they drive 80 miles a day along the island’s coastal roads, treating patients in encampment after encampment, and their telehealth visits with the team in downtown Maui. The mobile telehealth team’s creation was not an easy one: clinic and mobile team members talk candidly about the obstacles to their work and the initial problems getting buy-in. Now it has the clinic’s full support, and the video discusses the relationship-building that made it happen.

Most of all, clinic members talk about their gratitude at being able to treat their fellow residents who urgently need help. “I always worry about the people here,” says Clytie Kanae, the mobile team’s community health worker. “I’m hoping someday I can reconnect them and instill hope that there is still a chance they can make it. Because Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind.”

The video was created by Beth Freeman and team for the Center for Care Innovations and Kaiser Permanente, which funded the mobile telehealth project in Maui as part of CCI’s Virtual Care Innovations Network, a virtual health collaboration founded by Kaiser Permanente. The video has been honored by five media and film prizes, including two Telly Awards and a gold award from the Digital Health Media contest.



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