Campus & Community

Hopi, Hawaiian students teach powerful lessons on addiction

1 min read
Wrapping up an emotional ‘reflection session’ with student members of the program, Jamae Kawauchi talks about the program and its significance to her, not only as an administrator but also as a native Hawaiian. (Staff photo Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard News Office)

For three weeks in June, Harvard Medical School (HMS) hosted 20 high school students from Hawaii and Hopi nations to study the physiological and psychological effects of drug and alcohol addiction.

The course gave the academically promising students a real-world look at medical science and university life and – perhaps most valuable – scientific tools to address the drug and alcohol abuse so prevalent in their communities.

The students, in turn, left their HMS teachers and mentors with powerful testimonials about the devastation substance abuse has brought to their people and their cherished culture.

“What kind of stone would you have to be not to be moved by such an account of misery?” said David Potter, research professor at HMS and co-leader of HMS’s Native American/Native Hawaiian Summer Program.

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