Dr. Deborah Taira


677 Ala Moana Boulevard, Honolulu, HI 96813

Dr. Deborah Taira is a health economist. She has a B.A. in economics from Amherst College, a Masters in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, and a doctorate in health economics from the Harvard School of Public Health. She also has ten years of experience at the Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Hawaii) as research manager analyzing administrative data. Currently, she is a Professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice at the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. Her research focuses on understanding and reducing health disparities, particularly involving Asian and Pacific Islander Americans. Interests include medication adherence and social network analysis.


  • B.A., Economics - Amherst College
  • Masters in Public Affairs - The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University
  • Doctorate in Health Economics - Harvard School of Public Health


  • 2016 Awarded an Expanding National Capacity in Patient Centered Outcomes Research through Training (ENACT) Fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh
  • 2011/2012 Visiting Professor. Management Center Innsbruck, International Healthcare Management. Innsbruck, Austria. Taught evidence-based medicine, use of guidelines, health economics, health care reform.
  • 2012 Fulbright Specialist Scholar Award to Thailand (Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok).
  • 2009 Visiting professor. Fudan University, School of Public Health, Department of Health Economics, Shanghai, China. Taught health economics to graduate students for 3 weeks.
  • 2011 & 2012 Travel Award Research Center at the University of Hawaiʻi
  • 2012 Rho Chi Honor Society inductee



  • 1R18DK110773-01A1 (Trinacty) 06/01/2017 – 05/31/2021 1.20 calendar months
    • NIH/NIDDK $128,005
    • Does Free Medicines Coverage Improve Diabetes Self-Care and Outcomes for Diverse Populations?
    • The goal of this project is to examine acceptability and impact of a zero copayment for essential medications prescription drug plan at Kaiser Permanente Hawaii.
    • Role: Co-Investigator
  • 1R25HS023185-01 (Landsittel) 03/01/18-06/30/18 0.20 calendar months
    • AHRQ $10,580
    • Expanding National Capacity in Patient Centered Outcomes Research Through Training (ENACT) Program
    • The goal of this project is to train investigators from Minority Serving Institutions in Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR).
    • Role: Instructor
  • 5U54MD008149-10S2 Ofili (PI) 07/01/2018 – 03/31/2019 1.20 calendar months
    • NIH/NIMHD $186,117
    • Research Centers in Minority Institutions Translational Research Network
    • Goal is to reduce health disparities among diverse minority populations through a clinical and translational research network. My role was as Research Coordinating Center liaison for the cardiovascular, obesity, and informatics clusters.
    • Role: Research Coordinator


  • 14ADVC-64494, Juarez (PI) 06/01/2014 – 11/30/2015
    • Hawai'i Community Foundation’s LEAHI FUND for Pulmonary Research Award (PI-Juarez) Goal: To examine patterns of use of e-cigarettes among young adults and to identify areas of likely policy regulation in Hawaii
  • P20 MD00173-11 Mau (PI) 9/20/12 - 8/30/13; 3.0 calendar months
    • NIH National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities $963,791
    • Goal: The goal of this project is to eliminate health disparities to improve the health and wellness of native and Pacific peoples through research and partnership, increasing opportunities for synergy and collaboration that are trans-disciplinary, innovative and culturally grounded.
    • Role: Director, Research Training and Education Core; Co-I on pilot study.
  • RCMI Translational Research Network Yanagihara (PI) 09/01/2012-08/31/2017; 3 calendar months
  • NIH National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities
    • Goal: To promote networking among researchers from minority institutions
    • Role: Director of Project Development Division (of the Research Coordinating Center)
  • 1R01HS019990-01 Seto (PI) 9/30/10 - 9/29/13 0.6 calendar months
    • DHHS, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality $357,283
    • Goal: To enhance Hawaii Hospital Information content by incorporating laboratory values.
    • Role: Co-Investigator
  • 3 P20 MD000173-09S1 Mau (PI) REVISED 7/31/2010 – 12/31/2012 2.4 calendar months NIH National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities $975,430
    • Goal: The goal of this project is to integrate comparative effectiveness research with health disparities approaches to find the best treatments for diabetes and cardiometabolic diseases in racial/ethnic minorities such as native and Pacific people.
    • Role: Co-investigator
  • Funding Agency: U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command
    • 7/26/10 – 8/25/12
    • Project Title: “Development of an Evaluation Model to Compare PC Screen-Based vs. High Fidelity Simulation Teaching for Trauma Nursing in Terms of Learning and Cost”
    • Purpose: To evaluate PC screen-based teaching and high fidelity simulation to compare the learning achievements and costs.
    • Role: Co-investigator (10%)
  • Funding Agency: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
    • 9/1/10 - 8/30/12
    • Project Title: “Reducing Cost-related Medication Non-adherence for Persons with Diabetes”
    • Purpose: To evaluate the cost reduction for diabetic medication non-adherence.
    • Role: Co-investigator (20%)

Recent Publications

  • Lum CJ, Nakagawa K, Shohet RV, Seto TB, Taira DA. The Cost-Benefit Balance of Statins in Hawai‘i: A Moving Target. Hawaii J Med Public Health 2017 Apr;76(4):99-102.
  • Sentell TL, Shen C, Landsittel D, Mayes MH, Southerland J, Henriques King, M, Taira DA. Racial/Ethnic Differences in Those Accompanying Medicare Patients to the Doctor: Insights from the Medicare Current Beneficiary’s Survey. J Immigrant Minority Health. 2017 April 12; DOI 10.1007/s10903-017-0582-8.
  • Davis J, Mbowe O, Penha J, Taira D. Prevalence of Single and Multiple Leading Causes of Death Among Older Non-Hispanic Blacks, Non-Hispanic Whites, and Hispanics: Evidence from the National Health Interview Survey. Preventing Chronic Disease. Prev Chronic Dis. 2017 Oct 19;14:E101. doi: 10.5888/pcd14.160241.
  • Sutton CX, Carpenter D, Sumida WK, Taira DA.The Relationship Between Medication Adherence and Total Healthcare Expenditures by Race/Ethnicity in Patients with Diabetes in Hawaii. HJMPH. 2017; 76(7):183-189.
  • Taira DA, Seto JC, Masterson J, Guimares A, Davis JW. Attitudes of College-Aged Electronic Cigarette Users In Hawaii. Health Behavior and Policy Review Volume 5, Number 1, January 2018, pp. 94-102(9).
  • Taira DA, Seto BK, Davis JW, Seto TB, Landsittel D, Sumida WK. Examining Factors Associated With Non-Adherence And Identifying Providers Caring For Non-Adherent Subgroups. J Pharm Health Serv Res. 2017 Dec;8(4):247-253.
  • Taira DA, Sentell TL, Albright CL, Landsittel DP, Nakagawa K, Seto TB, Stevans JM. Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring: Underuse in Clinical Practice in Hawaii. Hawaii J Med Public Health. 2017;76(11):314-317.
  • Sentell TL, Ahn HJ, Miyamura J, Taira DA. Thirty-day inpatient readmissions for Asian American and Pacific Islander subgroups compared to whites. Med Care Res Rev. 2016; Nov 11:1077558716676595. doi: 10.1177/1077558716676595.
  • Taira DA, Kataoka-Yahiro M, Sy A. Hospice Utilization of Medicare Beneficiaries in Hawaii Compared to Other States. Asian Pacific Islander Nursing Journal. (in press)
  • Seto JC, Davis J, Taira DA. Examining the Association Between Different Aspects of Socioeconomic Status, Race, and Disability. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities (in press).
  • Husaini BA, Taira DA, Norris K, Adhish SV, Moonis M, Levine R. Depression Effects on Hospital Cost of Heart Failure Patients in California. An Analysis by ethnicity and gender. Indian Journal of Community Medicine. 2018; 43(1):49-52.