tapa pattern

History

PBTRC is rooted in a long history of working toward digital equity starting in the late 1960s.

History

Our Background

The Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center (PBTRC) is part of the University of Hawai’i Telecommunication and Social Informatics Research Program (TASI). TASI is an interesting acronym – which means “one” in Samoan and “Ocean/Sea” in Chamorro, the indigenous language of the Northern Mariana Islands (Guam and CNMI). Together, it means one ocean which is a fitting description for our program as we have and are continually connecting and networking with the US-Affiliated Pacific Island jurisdictions – from the westernmost island of Palau, to the Northern Marianas Island chain (Guam and CNMI), to the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the southernmost island jurisdiction of American Samoa. TASI also represents connectivity by telecommunications, an area of focus that our program has worked on for many years. 

PBTRC is rooted in a long history of working toward digital equity starting in the late 1960s and early 1970s with the start of the Pan Pacific Education and Communication Experiments by Satellite (PEACESAT) network. PEACESAT was a public service satellite network for rural areas in Hawai‘i and the Pacific Islands Region. The network provided innovative state of the art satellite communications introducing the first digital data transmission before the internet and the first interactive real-time video teleconferencing in the region. The network was used for distance learning, emergency management, economic development and telehealth. Further, the State Telehealth Access Network (STAN) was developed in partnership with other state agencies as one of the first telehealth networks in the state.

Timeline of Events

This timeline provides a chronology of our telehealth milestones and the foundation of which our relationships in the region are built upon.

Three men in aloha shirts standing by a satellite
1968
UH Proposal to NASA
The University of Hawai‘i responds to the NASA RFP for innovative uses of the ATS-1 satellite. Dr. John Bystrom and Dr. Paul Yuen, University of Hawai‘i Engineering, and Professor Katashi Nose, University of Hawai‘i Physics, designed and built the first PEACESAT earth stations.
1968
Four men and one woman holding a satellite
1971-1985
PEACESAT Network Grows in the Region
PEACESAT grows to supports more than 100 earth stations and becomes the umbrella network for regional sub-networks such as the USPNet (University of the South Pacific Network), Micronet (Micronesian Network), AsiaNet (Japan, Indonesia, and Thailand), Kangaroo-Net (Australia) and DOINet (Department of Interior Network). The PEACESAT program under the leadership of Dr. Donald M. Topping, Principal Investigator (PI), and Ms. Lori Mukaida, Director, works to continue the network support.
1971-1985
Two workers on a computer next to a satellite
1994-2011
PEACESAT Turns Digital
Dr. Norman H. Okamura, PEACESAT PI from 1994-2011 (PBTRC PI, 2013 - present) and designs a digital network upgrade that supports video teleconferencing at 128Kbps. PEACESAT operates the first interactive video teleconferencing in the region with Dr. Christina Higa, PEACESAT Director (PBTRC Co-Director, 2014 - present) and Mr. Thomas M. Okamura, PEACESAT Systems and Operations Manager. PEACESAT provided public service communications for educational institutions, health care providers, government agencies, and other nonprofit programs.
1994-2011
Telehealth Institute Poster from 1997
1997
Hawai‘i State Telehealth and Telemedicine Institute
UH TASI (formerly Telecommunications and Information Policy Group, TIP-G) facilitated the first conference in the State of Hawai‘i to explore telehealth through a two-day institute in partnership with the State of Hawai‘i High Technology Development Corporation, Department of Business and Economic Development and Tourism, and Department of Health.
1997
Map of Hawaii islands
1998-~2018
Hawai‘i State Telehealth Access Network (STAN)
UH TASI (formerly Telecommunications and Information Policy Group, TIP-G) with partners developing STAN. The network was a consortium of more than 40 health care providers and academic institutions for public health, clinical services, and distance learning applications. STAN provided technical infrastructure for telehealth through health facilities in the State of Hawai‘i. Dr. Norman H. Okamura (PBTRC PI, 2013 - present) architected and supported by Mr. Kaina Lingaton, Mr. Lance Shinsato and team to implement the STAN. The network was developed in collaboration with the Hawai‘i Health Systems Corporation and the High Technology Development Corporation.
1998-~2018
Group of people posing in front of a satellite
1998
American Samoa DELTA link
PEACESAT interconnects the American Samoa Distance Education Learning and Telehealth Applications (DELTA) link to the State of Hawai‘i Telehealth Access Network (STAN).
1998
Man doing a presentation
2000
Pacific Basin Telehealth Workshop
UH TASI (formerly Telecommunications and Information Policy Group, TIP-G) facilitated the first Pacific Basin Telehealth Workshop in Honolulu, Hawai‘i with Capt. Cathy Wasem and the U.C. Davis team providing the telehealth training.
2000
2005
Northwest Regional Telehealth Resource Center (NRTRC)
The State of Hawai‘i and the US-Affiliated Pacific Islands were members of the NRTRC with seven other states (AK, WA, OR, MT, ID, WY, UT), this is prior to HRSA funding a separate Telehealth Resource Center for Hawai‘i and the Pacific due to the unique characteristics and challenges, including vast geographic and cultural diversity of our region. Dr. Joseph Humphry (PBTRC PI, 2010-2012), Dr. Christina Higa (PBTRC Co-Director, 2014 - present), and Mr. Bruce Best (PBRTC Pacific Associate, 2010 - present) served as NRTRC board members.
2005
2007
Hawai‘i Telehealth Collaborative
The Hawai‘i Telehealth Collaborative was formed in spring 2007. The potential for telehealth in Hawai‘i was recognized but lacked the organization of a critical mass of stakeholders. A one-day telehealth symposium was held with participation from many different sectors. This symposium was funded by the HMSA Foundation. Dr. Deborah Peters (PBTRC Co-Director 2010-2022) and Dr. Joseph Humphry (PBTRC PI, 2010-2012) were leads for the Hawai‘i Telehealth Collaborative.
2007
2009
Telehealth Report to the Legislator
The Hawai‘i Telehealth Collaborative, led by Dr. Deborah Peters (PBTRC Co-director 2010-2022), submitted a report to the Hawai‘i State Legislators on the state of telehealth in Hawai‘i.
2009
Collage of PBTRC staff
2010 - Present
Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center (PBTRC)
In 2010, HRSA funded a separate Telehealth Resource Center, PBTRC, to support Hawai‘i and the Pacific Islands region. PBTRC started under the leadership of Dr. Joseph Humprey and Dr. Sven Bursell as the PIs and Dr. Deborah Peters as the Program Director. PBTRC has continued to provide technical assistance and support to Hawai‘i and the Pacific Region. In 2013 Dr. Norman H. Okamura became the PI, and in 2014 Dr. Christina Higa assumed the role of Co-Director. In 2022 Ms. Sylvia Mann joined the team as the other Co-Director.
2010 - Present
Group of 3 women posing with Governor Ige who is holding up a signed bill
2016
PBTRC Hawai‘i Telehealth Policy Workshop & White Paper
PBTRC facilitated a policy workshop, “Telehealth Opportunities in Hawai‘i: Planning A Way Forward”, that brought together key telehealth stakeholders and leaders to plan tangible actions to advance telehealth in Hawai‘i and focused on reimbursement, malpractice coverage, capacity building, and health disparities. As a result PBTRC developed a Telehealth White Paper summarizing stakeholder needs. Senator Roz Baker introduced the Telehealth Bill with all of the stakeholder recommendations and it was signed into law by Governor David Ige in 2016, Act 226(16).
2016
Collage of PBTRC staff
2016
Pacific Island Telehealth Summit
PBTRC facilitated a workshop, “the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands (USAPI) Telehealth Champion Building and Planning Workshop'' that was partially funded by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through a contract with Mathematica Policy Research. Workshop participants formulated a Pacific Island Telehealth Working Group of mostly health care providers and implemented immediate telehealth for medical education and training throughout the region and the start of telehealth initiatives.
2016
2017
Hawai‘i Telehealth Policy Summit
PBTRC together with the State of Hawai‘i Department of Health facilitated a two-day statewide Telehealth Summit. Read the summary report (PDF).
2017
2019
Hawai‘i Maternal Telehealth Summit
Dr. Men-Jean Lee, Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist from UH JABSOM led a statewide summit in partnership with PBTRC and the Hawai‘i Primary Care Association and funded in part by the State of Hawai‘i Department of Health. Read the story at UH Press.
2019