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The Evidence Based Workgroup (EBW) is a required component of the SAMSHA-funded 2018 Hawai‘i Partnerships for Success (HI-PFS) Project with the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division (ADAD) of the Hawai‘i State Department of Health. One of the goals of HI-PFS is to enhance the state system of substance abuse prevention in its utilization of a data-driven and evidence-based approach. The EBW will assist in this process through building the State’s capacity in developing and implementing evidence-based programs, practices, and policies.


The EBW consists of volunteer members representing program evaluators, experts, and ex-officio in the field of substance abuse prevention. Current members are as follow:
  • Stephanie Strutner, MPH, CPS, Catalyst Evaluation Group
  • Richard Kim, PhD, The Catalyst Group, LLC
  • Sothy Eng, PhD, UH Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Alyssa O‘Hair, MPH, MA, CPS, Center for the Application of Substance Abuse Technologies (CASAT)
  • Michael Sparks, MA, SparksInitiatives
  • Michelle Park, CPS, Coalition for Drug-Free Hawai'i
Ex-Officio Members
  • Cheryl Labuguen, CPS, Hawai'i State Department of Health, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division
  • Tehani Diaz, MPA, Hawai'i State Department of Health, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division
  • Kathleen Gauci, PhD, HI-PFS EBW Coordinator, UH Center on the Family
  • Sandé Flores, MPH, HI-PFS Evaluation Coordinator, UH Center on the Family
  • Sarah Yuan, PhD, HI-PFS Evaluator, UH Center on the Family
  • Wayne Buente, PhD, HI-PFS Adaptation Manager, UH School of Communications

Focus Areas

  1. Developing policies and guidelines regarding:
    • adaptations and implementation of culturally relevant evidence-based programs to meet fidelity requirements; and
    • evaluation of evidence-based and innovative/emerging programs, practices, and policies;
  2. Advising the selection of evidence-based programs, practices, and policies;
  3. Assisting ADAD in reviewing and providing feedback on evidence-based adaptation requests; and
  4. Providing structured presentations and training on specific topic areas, as needed.  


The EBW meets quarterly during the months of March, June, September, and December.


Contact the Workgroup

For questions related to evidence-based selection, adaptation, and implementation of prevention strategies, contact your contract specialist, who can bring your inquiries to the workgroup. The EBW welcomes ideas, questions, and suggestions on issues that the workgroup can contribute to/work on. The workgroup will prioritize such and work as a group to address them during their quarterly meetings. The EBW also encourages suggestions for presentation topics and volunteers to share their experiences in the areas of evaluation plans, methods, and results dissemination; and data-driven approaches for selecting and implementing prevention programs, policies, and practices.

Please email Kathleen Gauci, PhD, Evidence-Based Workgroup Coordinator, at if you have questions or suggestions regarding the EBW.

May 2022

May 20 Fri
Lunch 'n Learns with Matt Burton

Matt's collaboration with experts that have spent their lifetimes studying and addressing specific impacts trauma has on communities of color has yielded many insights and practical steps and tools to reduce the trauma that individuals and communities of color.  Matt will share those that have helped men and boys of color and their loved ones heal from their invisible wounds as well as to help the community heal as well.  In 2016, Matt spearheaded the Black Men and Boys Healing Summit.



May 24 Tue
Training of Trainers for iChooseMe and Know More: Prevent Underage Drinking

iChooseMe: This training will provide the participant with information on drug awareness, a half-page picture book, that provides information about illicit drugs and side effects of use. Each page mentions a protective factor that can reduce the potential for substance abuse and misuse.

Know More: Underage Drinking Prevention: This training will provide the participant with a presentation they can use to inform middle school and high school youth about underage drinking and its risks and consequences, along with refusal skills. Portions of this presentation can also be shared with parents/guardians.