To work in partnership with Hawai`i’s people to promote access to better health.
Better health for the people of Hawai`i.
Hawai`i is known for aloha. Aloha is widely known to mean “hello, good-bye, and love.” However, the more nuanced meanings include “compassion, mercy, and kindness.” Lesser known are the concepts of ho`aikāne, kōkua, and pono. Ho`aikāne means “to be a friend,” kōkua is “together,” and pono is a word rich in connotations of “well-being, rightness, and virtue.”
Project Vision Hawai`i was founded in 2007 by Dr. Michael Bennett, a local ophthalmologist who specializes in retinal surgery. With his oversight, the foundation for the program was developed by Hawai`i’s top experts in vision care. In 2011, Project Vision Hawai`i became a 501(c) 3.
As a community driven organization, expansion of Project Vision Hawai`i has been guided by need. Since 2007, it has grown from one mobile screening unit to three mobile screening units serving Hawai`i Island, Kaua`i, Lāna`i, Maui, Molokai`i and O`ahu.
Project Vision Hawai`i has the only mobile health screening programs in Hawai`i that provide statewide services in communities with significant access-to-care challenges related to income, lack of insurance, geographical location, or cultural conflict.
To date, Project Vision Hawai`i has provided free medical screening services to more than 55,000 patients across the state, including high populations of seniors, children from low-income families, immigrants, and individuals with disabilities.
Elizabeth “Annie” Valentin
Annie Valentin has been executive director of Project Vision Hawai`i since she transitioned the program from a for-profit venture to a non-profit organization in 2011. She is a member of the Palolo Lions Club and an active woman leader serving as a board member of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) of O`ahu and the Women’s Fund.
Valentin is a Weinberg Executive Director Fellow and was recognized on Pacific Business News’ Forty under 40 list in 2016 and Women to Watch list in 2013.
Valentin earned her Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies with a minor in art history from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and completed her master’s in public health at the University of Hawai`i – Mānoa.
Valentin is a sixth generation woman leader and daughter of local ophthalmologist, Tyrie Jenkins, M.D. Raised by women who look into peopleʻs eyes for a living, Valentin has always been passionate about vision. When she realized the need for vision services in underserved communities and the opportunities in blindness prevention, she pursued the public health approach to better vision and grew the organization based on community guidance.
Director of Community Health
Renae Mathson is the director of community health for Project Vision Hawai`i; she also serves as the lead coordinator for the Hawai`i and Maui Island operations. She has been with the organization since 2015.
Mathson started off in the administrative field as a personnelman for a United States Naval Reserve Field Hospital. In 2005, Mathson earned her Emergency Medical Technician I; and in 2006 earned her certificate as a Community Wellness Advocate from the University of Alaska Southeast, Sitka. She went on to become a National Registered EMT Basic and a Wilderness EMT in 1988.
Mathson worked as a health educator for SEARHC (Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium) for more than six years, educating and screening people for diabetes and heart disease, while teaching classes on nutrition, physical activity, and overall wellness concepts.
Mathson has an interest in vision screening because of a family history of cataracts, macular degeneration, and retinal bleeds. She believes in holistic health, and enjoys sharing how prevention can actually reduce the risk for eye diseases.
Rosella Mathson is Project Vision Hawai`i’s data assistant; she has been volunteering for Project Vision Hawai`i since 2015, and became an employee after she graduated from University of Hawai`i, Hilo, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology. Rosella is the first person on her matriarchal side of the family to graduate with a degree.
Prior to moving to Hawai`i to attend college, Mathson was a lead sales associate for White’s Pharmacy where she had the opportunity to learn about positive customer service and how to train new associates.
When Rosella wasn’t working or attending school, she earned her certificate as an Emergency Medical Technician I, and volunteered in the nursery at church. Mathson enjoys reading, and has been enjoying learning about the eye and the diseases that cause vision problems.
Director of Operations
Driver & Screening Technician, O`ahu
Driver & Screening Technician, Kaua`i
Driver & Screening Technician, Hawai`i Island
Rodney “Kalei” Cleveland
Driver & Screening Technician, Maui
Driver & Screening Technician, Maui
Project Vision Hawai`i’s team is not completely without mention of our fantastic volunteers. The District 50 Lions Clubs of Hawai`i and other special volunteers have been instrumental in the success of the organization statewide. To find out how you can volunteer, CLICK HERE!
Board of Directors
Anne Chipchase, MA, CVM
Board President - Ohana Health Plan
Joe Humphrey, M.D.
Hui Malama Na O`iwi
Sven-Erik Bursell, PhD
UH Telehealth Institute
Hawai`i Lions Club
Jeff Rutgard, M.D.
Hawaiian Eye Foundation
Radji Tolentino, MPH
Esq. Realtor and Advocate for Telephalmology
Director of Operations - Pomaka`i Transport Services
CPA - CFO YWCA O`ahu
Tyrie Jenkins, M.D.
Advisory to the board - Jenkins Eye Care