UH Manoa Nursing receives $130k GEER Innovation Grant for telehealth training program

The nursing department at the University of Hawaii at Manoa has received one of 31 innovative grants from the State of Hawaii, Office of the Governor. Co-Principal Investigators Drs. Lorrie Wong, PhD, RN, CHSE-A, Director of UH Translational Health Science Simulation Center & HMSA Distinguished Professor and Deborah Mattheus, PhD, APRN-Rx, CPNP, Associate Professor & Hawaii Keiki Senior Practice Director, will create a telehealth training toolkit that is culturally appropriate, immersive, and experiential for healthcare providers and students, so they can provide high-quality team-based healthcare using innovative technology.

The Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) fund will provide $130,000 for the development of the program. “The COVID-19 pandemic is changing Hawai‘i, and every sector must reinvent itself for the post-COVID environment, including education. The GEER awardees represent a diverse array of programs that address unprecedented pandemic needs and support the dreams and aspirations of each student,” said Gov. David Ige.

Telehealth training

The COVID-19 pandemic forced an abrupt but necessary, adoption of telehealth technology that delivers remote and long-distance clinical services during a time where people were physically distancing themselves. The steady adoption of telehealth provides rural and underserved population’s increased access to specialist and interprofessional team-based collaborative care. The success of telehealth during the pandemic has proven to be a long-term viable option for healthcare delivery. Development of telehealth education within our public higher education system is essential to preparing Hawaii’s present and future workforce to meet the healthcare needs of the state.

student and parent doing telehealth on a cell phone

Partnership with UH-HIDOE Hawaii Keiki Program

The Hawaii Keiki: Healthy and Ready to Learn (HK) program is a partnership between UH Manoa Nursing and the HI Department of Education (HIDOE). HK provides school based health services that screen for treatable health conditions; provide referral to primary health care and patient centered medical home services; prevent and control communicable disease and other health problems; and provide emergency care for illness or injury.

During the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic when HIDOE schools closed and students moved to online learning, it became clear that the lack of access to on-campus health services negatively impacted the health and well-being of children. Recognizing these impacts on students, families, schools and the community, the HIDOE partnered with HK to develop the HK Health Hotline (HKHH) launched in May 2020. HK expanded the program and obtained funding to pilot the TytoClinic platform to support remote physical examinations, treatment, and follow-up using specialized telehealth equipment (stethoscope, otoscope, etc.) This pilot documented that the telehealth program increased student’s access to healthcare providers while away from school and reduced the burden on families.

Program Implementation

UH Manoa Nursing will collaborate with interprofessional partners to create an online telehealth training toolkit which will include content on basic telehealth concepts, video modules, and simulation scenarios. Simulation based education covering health conditions across the life-span will bridge the gap between the classroom and actual clinical practice. It allows the learners to deliberately practice new skills, receive formative feedback in a safe environment, and develop clinical competence.

The telehealth training toolkit will be piloted by the Hawaii Keiki Program and UH Manoa Nursing students. Based on the evaluation of this pilot, the toolkit will then be refined and disseminated to the UH Hawaii State Nursing Consortium and UH Hawaii Interprofessional Education groups.

a nurse doing telehealth

The GEER funds will also allow for the purchase of 3 sets of telehealth TytoClinic equipment packages to be used in telehealth toolkit/simulation training and will be housed at healthcare programs at UH Maui College, UH Kauai Community College and UH Kapiolani Community College.

Using the “train the trainer” approach, the education provided to the collaborative partners will allow for key instructors at these institutions across the state to gain knowledge and skills in the use of telehealth equipment, simulation and development of health scenarios. These faculty can then share this information and begin to integrate this knowledge into their curriculums.


At the completion of the project, Drs. Wong and Mattheus would like to see that the telehealth training toolkit is integrated into the student’s curriculum across UH health science programs as well as other Hawaii universities.

For more information about the program, contact Lorrie Wong at or Deborah Mattheus at

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