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Joyful Heart Foundation Names New Hawaiʻi Executive Director


February 8, 2017


Honolulu, Hawai‘i – Maile M. Zambuto, National Chief Executive Officer of the Joyful Heart Foundation—based in Joyful Heart’s Honolulu Office—announced today that Dr. Sulma Gandhi will join the organization as the Executive Director, Hawai‘i Region in July. She is currently the Director for Student Health & Wellness Programs at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, a position she has held since 2012. As Director, she oversees integration of prevention, medical, and mental health services and the development of essential community partnerships.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Gandhi to the Joyful Heart team. Her breadth of experience, commitment, and passion—as well as her high energy and drive—will serve Joyful Heart well both locally and nationally,” said Zambuto. “Dr. Gandhi’s more than 15 years of leadership experience and extensive work in violence prevention and intervention will be a welcome addition to our team, and help us continue to serve survivors in Hawai‘i.”

Dr. Gandhi has a long history of working with Joyful Heart. She represents the University on the Hawaiʻi Says NO MORE Core Team, and UH Hilo’s Student Health & Wellness Programs is a pilot site for Joyful Heart’s Heal the Healers project, funded by the Atherton Foundation.

“I am proud to be part of Joyful Heart’s trailblazing commitment to create a thriving, just, and safe Hawaiʻi where people can reach their full potential, free from the effects of this violence. Together we will work to build a more compassionate, loving community by nurturing the wellbeing of our friends, neighbors, and families. This vital work is our kuleana as it strengthens the very foundations of our vibrant communities,” said Dr. Gandhi.

Dr. Gandhi’s experience includes serving as Health & Wellness Career Academy lead for Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi campus, Clinical Director for Hospice of Hilo, Director of Development & Public Relations for Turning Point for Families, Assistant Branch Administrator for the Kapiʻolani Health Child Protection Center, and Quality & Development Manager for the YWCA’s Hawaiʻi Healthy Start Program.

Dr. Gandhi holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in science from the University of Victoria, Canada and a doctorate degree in Business Administration from California Intercontinental University. She has a Certificate in Health Care Administration from the University of Hawaiʻi - West Oʻahu, a Certificate in Title IX Investigation (ATIXA Association of Title IX Administrators, 2014), and is certified as a Suicide Prevention Trainer for the Connect, SafeTALK, and QPR curriculums.

Dr. Gandhi was the 2009 recipient of the prestigious Hawaiʻi Island Chamber of Commerce’s Athena Award, which recognizes women’s contributions and leadership in business and community service. She was selected as an Omidyar Fellow through the Hawaiʻi Leadership Forum. She serves on the Hilo Medical Center Foundation board and the Hawaiʻi Suicide Prevention Taskforce.

About Joyful Heart Foundation

The Joyful Heart Foundation was founded in Kailua-Kona in 2004. The mission of the Joyful Heart Foundation is to transform society’s response to sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, support survivors’ healing, and end this violence forever.

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