PIHOA’s mission is to improve the health and well being of the USAPI by providing, through consensus, a unified credible voice on health issues of regional significance.
The idea of forming PIHOA first emerged in the mid-1980s as the region’s principal health officials gathered at conferences sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Region IX office, the World Health Organization, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, and others. These Pacific Executive Health Officers recognized that while they shared common health interests, problems, concerns, and history, they had no formal mechanism to come together to discuss their commonalities. Working with the above groups gave them the opportunity to come together and work on finding appropriate regional solutions.
The region’s health Directors, Ministers, and Secretaries organized PIHOA in 1986. In 1987, the group elected it’s first officers, drafted its by-laws, and secured its incorporation as a public entity in the CNMI. The body selected its executive director and sought a special relationship with the University of Hawaii, School of Public Health to house its Secretariat. The School of Public Health would highlight the organization’s visibility, while providing easier access to concerned educational and philanthropic organizations that could help with needed resources and the concerned policymakers in Washington, DC. Today, PIHOA is an independent, 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to improving health in the region.
PIHOA’s recently endorsed Strategic Framework for Action 2018-2022 will guide PIHOA’s strategic direction for the next five years. PIHOA’s mandates and regional priorities continue to align with and affirm the core principles of the 1995 Yanuca Declaration, and which were again endorsed under the Pacific Healthy Islands Vision 2015, whereby “children are nurtured in body and mind; environments invite learning and leisure; people work and age with dignity; ecological balance is a source of pride; and the ocean which sustains us is protected.”