Pac Rim 2024

Post-Conference Events


The Pacific Way: What does inclusive emergency response and recovery look like on your island?

Thursday, February 29, 2024
9:00 AM – 3:00 PM (HST)

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Campus Center Executive Dining Room
2465 Campus Road
Honolulu, HI 96822


The session will explain an overview of emergency preparedness, emergency management, and disaster management. Participants will recognize how their role in the disability network would contribute to emergency preparedness and why a disability integration advisor can be a game changer in pre-, during, and post-disaster. The need to build relationships with key stakeholders engaged in emergency and disaster management will identify how disability networks can bridge the equity gap in response and recovery. In addition, the session will engage participants in lessons learned, cultural resilience, and political insecurity for the Pacific Territories and Hawaiʻi.

Maui Response Presentation (2 PM - 3 PM) - Presented by Maya Matheis, Ph.D., M.S.W

The August 8, 2023 wildfires in Maui marked the most devastating natural disaster in Hawaiʻiʻs history, impacting communities such as Lāhainā, Kula, and Olinda. While immediate community mobilization provided support, it became evident that individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) were being overlooked in the post-disaster recovery efforts. People with IDD face a heightened risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), in part due to a lack of therapeutic support and trauma-specific intervention, perpetuated by the disconnect between mental health and disability service systems and the lack of research in this area.

Recognizing this gap, the University of Hawai’i Center on Disability Studies (CDS) collaborated with Department of Health Developmental Disabilities Division (DDD) to develop a toolkit combining the social story framework with components of evidence-based interventions for PTSD, and rooted in Dissemination & Implementation (D&I) science principles. The toolkit, available for free as a digital download or in print, is comprised of a social story workbook for teens/adults with IDD, a workbook version for keiki, and a quick reference card for family members and service providers with strategies from Psychological First Aid. Through webinars, community dissemination, and direct implementation with the DDD participants and adult-day health programs in Maui, the toolkit has shown promising results. Ongoing follow-ups aim to assess its long-term impact, emphasizing the importance of inclusive strategies for addressing traumatic stress in vulnerable populations post-disaster. 

This presentation will present an overview of the evidence-based strategies used to develop the toolkit, discuss the process of adapting these strategies to this population and specific traumatic experience, and thoughts on how such an intervention can be used in other trauma contexts.

Learning Objectives (Maui Response Presentation):

  • Participants will be able to identify at least 3 challenges faced by individuals with IDD related to traumatic stress.
  • Participants will be able to identify at least 3 “active ingredients” from evidence-based interventions for treating PTSD.
  • Participants will be able to identify at least 3 strategies they can use to adapt interventions for PTSD for individuals.

Session Outcomes

Participants will be able to:
● Recognize the valuable role and responsibility of the disability network in emergency preparedness.
● Familiarize with their State Emergency Operation Plan and Federal policies.
● Identify key stakeholders to build and coordinate resources.
● Illustrate cultural resilience when rebuilding the whole community.



Registration is now closed. Thank you for your interest.

About the Trainers and Presenters

Tafaimamao Tua-Tupuola
State Director
American Samoa University Center for Excellence in Developmental

Tafaimamao “Tafa” Tua-Tupuola is the State Director of the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at the American Samoa Community College. Currently, she serves on the FEMA National Advisory Council (NAC) as a representative of disability and access functional needs. The valuable experience and representation in previous U.S. Federal Advisory Councils, such as Federal Communication Commission-Disability Advisory Council and FEMA Integrated Public Alert Warning System Subcommittee, helped weave the conversation of equity and inclusion from a Pacific Islander and disability lens in the FEMA NAC. Ms. Tua-Tupuola was recently appointed to Chair the new FEMA NAC subcommittee – Gender Based Violence in response to the Whitehouse U.S. National Plan to end Gender Base Violence.

Tafa also engages the Disability Network across the Pacific Region, addressing Pacific challenges in Human security and equity, post-disaster housing, health and economic security, resulting in systems change, capacity building, and advocacy. She is the steerperson for the Pacific Risk Management ‘Ohana (PRiMO) Health Security Hui.

Maya Matheis, Ph.D., M.S.W.,
Associate Director
Center on Disability Studies, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Maya Matheis, Ph.D., M.S.W., is a licensed clinical psychologist and the Associate Director of the Center on Disability Studies at the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa. She completed her MSW at Washington University in St. Louis, her PhD in clinical psychology at Louisiana State University, and her pre/postdoctoral training at the UC Davis MIND Institute, where she completed the Autism Research Training Program (ARTP). Her clinical specialization is in mental health intervention for individuals with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Her research interests focus on community-based implementation of interventions for ASD, with particular emphasis on training and support for non-specialists such as teachers, parents, and community health workers.