Allena Kaiaokamalie Richardson grew up on Lanai but graduated from Kamehameha Kapalama in 2009. Driven to help people receive quality health care, she started her career at CVS Caremark, the prescription benefit manager for HMSA. For the past four years, she has been working with HMSA and is now a QUEST project specialist, where she tracks enrollment data and shares this information with the state of Hawaii.
The Medquest program is a federally funded program administered by the state of Hawaii for individuals including eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults and people with various disabilities. Allena says her job has been especially busy due to the number of Hawaii residents who are unemployed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. She is thankful to have found a career with HMSA, and is grateful for the opportunity to help promote health equity for our very own local people.
When she is not at work, Allena is spending time with her husband, two-year-old, and helping her first grader with distance learning. During the pandemic, she also picked up a few new hobbies, including crafting with her cricket machine and tending to her small indoor garden.
Allena has adapted well to life on Oahu with her family, however, she does miss Lanai’s safety and comfort. “Raising my kids in the concrete jungle is very different from how I grew up,” Allena explained. “I miss the safety, seeing familiar faces, neighbors who you know for years, and the country life on Lanai.”
While Allena’s mom is now on Oahu, her brother, sister and extended family are still residents on Lanai. Before the pandemic, she would try to return to the island for special events like the Pineapple Festival, but COVID-19 makes traveling a bit more complicated. “I’m looking forward to this pandemic being over and reuniting with my loved ones,” she said.
“Where are they now?” features alumni from Lanai High and Elementary School to see what they’ve been up to since graduation.