Innovators in health education
Kaiser Permanente Hawaii, a major nonprofit health plan serving more than 226,494 members, has been bringing health education into communities through music, comedy and drama since the early 1980s. Offered to audiences free of charge, Educational Theatre Program is a key component of Kaiser Permanente’s Community Benefit outreach. Our work is driven by our conviction that good health is a fundamental right shared by all and by our heritage of prevention and health promotion.
Our programs are developed by theatre professionals in collaboration with health educators, community advisory committees and Kaiser Permanente physicians. We cover important health topics, such as healthy eating, physical activity, diversity, peer pressure, conflict management, bullying prevention, domestic violence, dealing with grief and loss, depression, sexually transmitted diseases, literacy promotion, and drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse.
Our talented troupe
Rather than using professional actors, our Educational Theatre Program troupe is proudly made up of high school students from Castle and Kapolei high schools. Through this unique model, the young actors become knowledgeable and passionate about health issues through the process of rehearsing and performing a production. They are also viewed as health education ambassadors within their schools and communities and are able to competently educate their peers on certain issues.
Kaiser Permanente’s Hawaii region began exploring the world of educational theatre in 1981. Working with educators and health professionals, “Dr. Wizardwise” was created – a magic show emphasizing health education to children. By the second year, Kaiser Permanente’s “Dr. Wizardwise” had been in nearly every public and private elementary school throughout all the Islands in the state. Inspired by the innovative idea of “Dr. Wizardwise”, the Ohio region creates the flagship production “Professor Bodywise’s Traveling Menagerie”, a show which all Kaiser Permanente regions will adopt – and refine – over the years.
After a short hiatus from educational theatre, in 2006, Hawaii announces a partnership with Castle High School and Kapolei High School in 2009. Using students as the actors, the partnership begins with performances of “The Amazing Food Detective” and “Best Me.”
Since 2009, Hawaii has reached nearly 13,700 through educational theatre.