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DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

News Release
NEIL ABERCROMBIE
GOVERNOR _________________________________________________________________________________________________________ LORETTA J. FUDDY, A.C.S.W., M.P.H. DIRECTOR Phone: (808) 586-4410 Fax: (808) 586-4444 _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

For Immediate Release: August 17, 2011

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STATE REGISTRAR DR. ALVIN ONAKA RECEIVES NATIONAL RECOGNITION FOR WORK ON MODEL LAW
HONOLULU – The Hawaii State Department of Health’s State Registrar of Vital Statistics and chief of the Office of Health Status Monitoring, Alvin T. Onaka, Ph.D., was recognized nationally for his leadership in improving the security and modernizing the National Vital Statistics System. Dr. Onaka was presented with a 2011 Award at the annual meeting of the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Award recognizes his work in revising the national Model Law that outlines the uniform practices involving the collection, maintenance and issuance of all vital statistics involving births, deaths and marriages.

Dr. Onaka chaired the CDC work group that revised the U.S. Vital Statistics Model Law. The Model Law was originally developed in 1907 as the first model public health law in the United States. It serves to promote uniformity in all the functions that comprise a state system of vital statistics involving births, deaths and marriages. The Vital Statistics Model Law was last revised in 1992.

In receiving the award, Dr. Onaka said that he was “fortunate to have the opportunity to work with leading U.S. experts in public health law and the administration of state vital statistics electronic registration systems.” The CDC work group met over a span of two years to address many changes affecting vital statistics including: electronic birth and death registration; advances in assisted reproductive technologies; same sex marriage/civil unions; surrogacy; problems of

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Page 2 State Registrar Dr. Alvin Onaka Receives National Recognition for Work on Model Law

identity theft, data disclosure and confidentiality; continuity of operations; and preserving records in an electronic environment.

After the events of 9/11, the birth certificate integrity became an issue of national security and Congress included a section in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act.

The recommendations of the Work Group chaired by Dr. Onaka are now under review and approval by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.

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