In 1985, the first comprehensive study of Native Hawaiian health issues authored by Native Hawaiian researchers was published. Called the E Ola Mau Reports, this study indicated that Native Hawaiian communities in the State of Hawai`i were at a severe health disadvantage as compared to other ethnic segments of the population. Additionally, the E Ola Mau Reports identified four thematic barriers preventing Native Hawaiians from receiving adequate health care. These themes include Appropriateness, Acceptability, Affordability, and Accessibility. In response to the E Ola Mau Reports, Congress passed the Native Hawaiian Health Care Improvement Act (NHHCIA), or Title 42, Chapter 112 in 1988, with the intention of improving the overall health of the Native Hawaiian population. The original NHHCIA provisioned for the creation of Papa Ola Lokahi as well as the Native Hawaiian Healthcare Systems, and the revised NHHCIA passed in 1992 provisioned funding for the creation of a Native Hawaiian health care workforce through the Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program.
To date, the Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program has trained 215 Native Hawaiian healthcare professionals.