Lehua Choy




Assistant Specialist
University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Professional Bio

Dr. Lehua Choy is an Assistant Specialist (non-instructional faculty member) in the Office of Public Health Sciences at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. For nearly 10 years, she has led evaluation projects focused on physical activity promotion at a community intervention level, including community coalitions and active transportation initiatives funded by the Hawaii State Department of Health. She earned her doctorate in public health (DPH) specializing in Community-based and Translational Research from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. She also has an MPH in Social & Behavioral Health Sciences from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and a BA in Psychology from Lewis & Clark College.

Project Description

The built environment influences our ability to engage in physical activity safely and enjoyably. Modifying the built environment to promote physical activity requires cross-sector collaboration. This research study has two aims: 1) Through a systematic literature review, examine the collaborative structures, processes, and factors that are associated with built environment improvements to promote physical activity; 2) Utilize findings from the systematic review to guide a conceptual framework for qualitative data analysis, conduct a secondary data analysis of key informant interviews with a community coalition. The community coalition has engaged multiple sectors in implementing policies, projects, and programs to improve the built environment in a rural county with a high proportion of Native Hawaiian and Asian residents. The expected outcomes of this research will provide practitioners with insights into how they may improve their collaborative work in the built environment.

Why did you apply to New Connections

I applied to New Connections to strengthen my research skills and gain post-doctoral experience that will better position me to be a successful independent researcher. My research interests are well aligned with RWJF’s Culture of Health framework, and the design of the New Connections program will provide me with the support of a senior research mentor and research training opportunities.

Research Interests

  • Program evaluation
  • Built environment interventions to promote physical activity
  • Community coalitions and cross-sector collaboration


Choy, L.B., Maddock, J.E., Brody, B., Richards, K.L., & Braun, K.L. (2016). Examining the role of a community coalition in facilitating policy and environmental changes to promote physical activity: The case of Get Fit Kaua‘i. Translational Behavioral Medicine, 6, 638-647. doi:10.1007/s13142-015-0379-z

Choy, L.B., Mokuau, N., Braun, K.L., & Browne, C.V. (2008). Integration of cultural concepts in establishing Hā Kūpuna: National Resource Center for Native Hawaiian Elders. Journal of Native Aging & Health, 3(1), 5-12.

Choy, L.B., McGurk, M.D., Tamashiro, R., & Maddock, J.E. (2008). Increasing safe places for physical activity through a joint use agreement: A case study in urban Honolulu. Preventing Chronic Disease, 5(3).

The Details
  • New Connections Status: Junior Investigator
  • Award Year: 2018
  • RWJF Team/Portfolio: Fostering Cross-Sector Collaboration
  • Project Name: Examining cross-sector collaboration in built environment initiatives
    to increase physical activity

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