Jasmin Kiernan, RN
Innovations and Transformation
West Hawaii Community Health Center

Ms. Jasmin Kiernan is the director of Innovations and Transformation at West Hawaii Community Health Center (WHCHC). As one of the first WHCHC employees in 2005, she has devoted her energy and passion to achieving the vision and mission of the first Federally Qualified Health Center in Kailua-Kona. Ms. Kiernan played a key role in building WHCHC’s basic infrastructure, including the development of clinical process flows and the establishment of policies. Her efforts in promoting the patient-centered healthcare home model of care subsequently led to WHCHC achieving Level III recognition for patient-centered care by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Ms. Kiernan, in her current role, focuses on expanding the organization’s outreach to target populations such as clients at affordable housing units, providing free health screenings and education at farm sites, and working with Marshallese youth, schools, and primary Hispanic-speaking community members. Ms. Kiernan’s team also works with the homeless population and at a mental health facility. One of the team’s goals is to create an ongoing school-based outreach program and eventually open a school-based clinic at one of the rural schools for many children whose parents are migrant farm workers.

Ms. Kiernan has worked in health-related fields since graduating from SFSU with a BS in clinical sciences in 1975 and an RN in 1986. As a nurse for the past 30 years, she has worked in critical care and other hospital settings, such as St. Anthony’s Hospital in Denver and Lutheran Exempla Medical Center in Colorado. She also worked as a home hospice nurse for one year. Nursing has provided her with an opportunity to diversify her medical skills and gain exposure to health and social issues in diverse communities.

Ms. Kiernan worked in Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer immediately after college and was assigned to create a school health program for the Lubombo District in Swaziland, South Africa, from 1975–1977. Her Peace Corps work and travel through Africa profoundly affected her view of the world. She served as a board member and medical volunteer for Uplift Internationale (UI) from 1989–2004, a nonprofit organization that provides free cleft lip and palate surgery repair to indigent children in the Philippines. Ms. Kiernan received the UI Humanitarian Award in 2002.

Ms. Kiernan worked as a volunteer to HIV/AIDS clients for 14 years and served as a board member for the Boulder County AIDS Project. She received the Richard Pedersen Award in 2003 that was named in honor of a hemophiliac client and HIV activist who died of AIDS from a contaminated blood transfusion. She had a close working relationship with Mr. Pedersen prior to his death.

Ms. Kiernan’s professional and volunteer careers reflect her strong interest in frontline, community-level work. Her direct work and experiences with individuals devastated by illness, disfigurement, and social stigma have made a deep impact on her life. She continues to conduct outreach to specific target populations to learn about their specific needs, issues, and challenges as well as to engage these communities in devising solutions and interventions for their identified needs.

Ms. Kiernan wrote the application for West Hawaii community to take part as a Blue Zones Project demonstration site, and in January 2017, West Hawaii community was chosen as a Blue Zones Project demonstration site. She has been asked to co-chair the Leadership Committee for this three-year project for West Hawaii. Blue Zones Project is a community well-being improvement initiative that will impact environment, policy, and social networks. Blue Zones Project makes healthy choices easier with the goal that people can live longer and better, and communities can lower healthcare costs, improve productivity, and boost national recognition as a great place to live, work, and play. Blue Zones Project has reached close to 3.4 million lives across 42 communities in nine states to date.