Dr. Michele Bray Receives Public Health Award for Exceptional Contributions to State

Dr. Michele Lani Bray, DNP, RN, PHNA-BC, Online RN to BS Program Director and Assistant Professor was honored with the prestigious Healthcare Association of Hawaii’s (HAH) Public Health Award. Bray received the award at the HAH Awards and Scholarship Gala on Saturday, October 21, 2023, at the Hawaii Convention Center in front of an audience of nursing leaders, healthcare colleagues, and student scholarship recipients.

Michele Bray receives public health award

Bray was selected for this award in recognition of her exceptional contributions to public health in the state. Her journey in public health and nursing leadership has spanned several decades. As a public health nurse for 10 years with the Hawaii Department of Health, Bray spearheaded transformative initiatives including the School Health Asthma programs and was selected to be the H1N1 Liaison for the state. These roles demonstrate her commitment to improving the health of Hawaii’s youth and her exceptional foresight in preparing for public health crises. During the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, she helped spearhead essential pandemic response efforts, including training hundreds of contact tracers and orchestrating the deployment of nursing students as vaccinators.

As a nurse educator with the UH Manoa Nancy Atmospera-Walch School of Nursing, Dr. Bray has continued to advance public health in Hawaii with unwavering commitment for more than 10 years. She is the director of the Online RN to BS program that provides registered nurses with the opportunity to attain a bachelor’s degree and further their professional growth. She also teaches in the Masters of Science Online Advanced Population Health Nursing program where she shares her expertise and passion for public health to a new generation of nurse leaders.

Bray has been exceptionally committed to raising awareness among nurses regarding the growing importance of attaining knowledge and skills in public/population health to address major societal trends impacting health. She believes in the importance of preparing nurses for future public health challenges.

“The world is evolving and our healthcare system must evolve with it,” said Bray. “Preparing nurses to work collaboratively with professionals and community members on initiatives that contribute to public health will help all of us in Hawaii tackle the complex challenges of our time, such as climate change adaptation and disaster readiness. Nurses and all health professionals really need to align our efforts to contribute to safeguarding the health and well-being of our communities, and the sustainability of our aina.”

Congratulations to Dr. Michele Bray for this well-deserved honor and the school thanks her for her unwavering commitment to the well-being of Hawaii’s residents. Her dedication and passion continue to inspire people. For a full listing of the 2024 Health Care Heroes, Peer Awardees and scholarship recipients, visit

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