Maenette K.P. Ah Nee-Benham, Ed.D.

Dr. Ah Nee-Benham is Dean at the Hawaiinuiakea School of Hawaiian Knowledge, University of Hawaii at Manoa.  She began her career in education in the 1970s, preK-12 teaching and school administration.  She was a Professor of Educational Leadership at Michigan State University (1993 – 2008).  Dr. Ah Nee-Benham is the past editor (2002-2006) of the American Educational Research Association’s leading educational journal, The American Educational Research Journal: Section on Social and Institutional Analysis. As a scholar, mentor, and teacher, her inquiry centers on the nature of engaged educational leadership; the wisdom of knowing and praxis of social justice envisioned and enacted by educational leaders; and the effects of educational policy on indigenous people.  She has been an invited speaker and presenter at international conferences in Europe, South East Asia, and the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education (Hawaii, Canada, and New Zealand).  In the United States, she is asked to speak on educational issues at a variety of conferences from a focus on Biomedical Research to a focus on Issues of Diversity.  Dr. Ah Nee-Benham is the author of numerous articles and books,  including: Culture and Educational Policy in Hawaii: The Silencing of Native Voices (Lawrence Erlbaum Publishers), Let My Spirit Soar! The Narratives of Diverse Women in School Leadership (Corwin Press), Indigenous Educational Models for Contemporary Practice: In Our Mother’s Voice Volumes I and II (Lawrence Erlbaum Publisher), and Case Studies for School Administrators: Managing Change in Education (Scarecrow Publishers).  She has worked extensively with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation on youth and education initiatives, and is currently leading their Engaging Communities in Education initiative.


Dana (Dane) L. Alden, Ph.D.

Professor Dana L. Alden completed his Ph.D. in international business with an emphasis on cultural consumer psychology in 1990 at the University of Texas Austin.  Prior to his PhD studies, Professor Alden worked as a manager in the Charitable Trust Department of Hawaiian Trust and served as the first Executive Director of the Straub Foundation.  Since joining the University of Hawaii, Professor Alden has focused on cross-cultural marketing communications and health care.  His current research examines issues related to patient-physician decision making, patient decision aids and culture.  Professor Alden’s studies appear in leading journals such as the Journal of Marketing, Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Journal of International Marketing, Health Communication and Social Science & Medicine.  He also regularly consults on health communication and service delivery strategies in East and Southeast Asia.  For example, Professor Alden served as chief international consultant on a successful, multi-year reproductive health clinic franchising project for Marie Sports International and The Atlantic Philanthropies in Vietnam.


Joseph R. Betancourt, M.D., MPH

Dr. Betancourt is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and directs the Disparities Solutions Center, which works with healthcare organizations to improve quality of care, address racial and ethnic disparities, and achieve equity. He is also Director of Multicultural Education for Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and an expert in cross-cultural care and communication.  Dr. Betancourt is also a co-founder of Quality Interactions, Inc., an industry-leading company that has created and deployed a portfolio of e-learning programs in the area of cross-cultural care and communications to over 125,000 health care professionals across the country.  Dr. Betancourt served on several Institute of Medicine Committees, including those that produced Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Health Care and Guidance for a National Health Care Disparities Report.  He has also advised federal, state, and local government, foundations, health plans, hospitals, health centers, professional societies, trade organizations, pharma, and private industry on strategies to improve quality of care and eliminate disparities.   He is a practicing internist, co-chairs the MGH Committee on Racial and Ethnic Disparities and sits on the Boston Board of Health as well as Health Equity Committee, and the Massachusetts Disparities Council.   Dr. Betancourt is on the Boards of Trinity Health, a large, national Catholic healthcare system based in Michigan, as well as Neighborhood Health Plan, a Medicaid Managed Care Plan based in Boston.  He practices Internal Medicine at the MGH Internal Medicine Associates.


Mary G. Boland, DrPH, RN, FAAN

Dr. Boland is Dean and Professor of the School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  At the University of Hawaii, she is committed to shaping the future of nursing education and scholarship for Hawaii and the Pacific region.  Prior to joining the University of Hawaii, Dr. Boland served as associate dean and the Francios-Xavier Bagnoud Professor of Nursing at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.  She has extensive academic research and administrative experience, and was the co-founder and director of the Francios-Xavier Bagnoud Center, an innovative interdisciplinary endeavor within the School of Nursing and New Jersey Medical School.  Dr. Boland is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the nursing honor society.  Active in global health issues, she has worked extensively with the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  She received a doctoral degree in public health from the Mailman School at Columbia University, a master’s degree in nursing from Seton Hall University and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania.


Kathryn L. Braun, DrPH

Dr. Kathryn L. Braun is Director of the Office of Public Health Studies, Professor of Public Health and Social Work, and Chair of the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) program at the University of Hawaii.  She also serves a Co-Principal Investigator of ‘Imi Hale – Native Hawaiian Cancer Network, Co-Investigator of Ha Kapuna National Resource Center for Native Hawaiian Elders, and Lead Evaluator for the Hawaii Healthy Aging Partnership.  Dr. Braun is known for her work in community-based participatory research in cancer and gerontology, and she has published more than 170 peer-reviewed journal articles on these topics.  She is a past winner of the Board of Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Teaching form the University of Hawaii.  She is a fellow in the Gerontological Society of America and the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education, and is current President of the Active Aging Consortium Asia-Pacific.


Bradley Chun, M.D.

Dr. Chun is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine (UH-JABSOM) in the Department of Medicine. He was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. He is a graduate of Brown University and the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine in 2004 at the UH – JABSOM Internal Medicine Residency Program. He has worked as an internist at Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services (KKV) since 2004. KKV is a federally qualified community health center serving an ethnically and culturally diverse, underserved population in urban Honolulu’s Kalihi Valley. His interest in cross-cultural health care comes from the day-to-day challenges of caring for patients in a cross-cultural setting and in teaching these skills to medical students and residents. 


Julia Puebla Fortier

Julia Puebla Fortier is the Executive Director of DiversityRx: Resources for Cross Cultural Health Care, a US-based NGO that promotes good policy, practices and research on health care for minority, migrant and indigenous populations.  Ms. Fortier spearheaded the development of several key policy tools in this area, including the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Health Care for the US Department of Health and Human Services.  She has worked with other health agencies to develop contracting specifications on cultural competence for managed care organizations, a national research agenda to promote outcomes-related research on cultural and linguistic health care interventions, and a framework for integrating cultural competence in the health care quality improvement agenda.  Ms. Fortier developed and manages the DiversityRx.org website, a professional education resource on cross cultural health care, and coproduces a biennial conference series on quality health care for culturally diverse populations.  Prior to her work with DiversityRx, she was a staff member of the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Health and the Environment (Rep. Henry A. Waxman, Chairman).  While living in the UK and France, she was active in migrant health practice and policy dialogues and projects sponsored by the European Union, the World Health Organization and the International Organization for Migration.  She now lives in Japan and is conducting research on culture, health and care delivery from a cross-national perspective.


Tawara D. Goode, MA

Ms. Goode is an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington D.C.  She has been on the faculty of the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development (GUCCHD), for the past 30 years and has served in many capacities.  She has degrees in early childhood education, and education and human development.  Professor Goode has extensive experience as a principal investigator for federal and private sector grants and contracts.  She is the Associate Director of the GUCCHD’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities and focuses on national level efforts to advance and sustain cultural and linguistic competence in the filed.  She is also the director of the National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC) at GUCCHD.

The NCCC has been in existence for the past 18 years during which Ms. Goode was the director for 16 years.  The mission of the NCCC is to increase the capacity of health care and mental health care programs to design, implement, and evaluate culturally and linguistically competent service delivery systems to address growing diversity, persistent disparities, and to promote health and mental health equity.  Professor Goode is recognized as a thought leader in the area of cultural and linguistic competency and building the NCCC into a nationally and internationally recognized and award winning program.  She had a primary role in developing curricula, assessment instruments, professional development series, and other resources that support cultural and linguistic competence.


Alexander R. Green, MD, MPH

Dr. Alexander Green is Associate Director of the Disparities Solutions Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, Senior Scientist at the Mongan Institute for Health Policy and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School where he teaches cross-cultural medicine and chairs the Cross Cultural Care Committee.  He was awarded the Arnold P. Gold Professorship for Humanism in Medicine in August 2013.  Dr. Green’s research and programmatic interests focus on culturally competent approaches to quality improvement, unconscious bias in health care delivery, language barriers and patient safety, and cultural competence education for health professionals.  He has published and presented widely on these topics and his work has been funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Commonwealth Fund, Aetna Foundation, The Macy Foundation, NIH, AHRQ and CMS among others.  In 2008, he was chosen to receive the Harold Amos Diversity Award at Harvard Medical School and in 2012 he was selected to receive the provider of the year award by the international Medical Interpreters Association.

Dr. Green has served on numerous expert panels, working groups and advisory boards on culturally competent care and health care disparities for organizations such as the Joint Commission, the National Quality Forum, and The Society of General Internal Medicine.  He helped produce and implement a documentary film and education project on cross-cultural health care called Worlds Apart, now used by hundreds of organizations nationally, and he co-authored a series of a web-based cultural competency e-learning courses call Quality Interactions.

Dr. Green received his Bachelor of Science and medical degree from the University of California, San Diego, and completed his residency training in internal medicine at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center.  He joined the faculty at Cornell where he completed a National Health Services Corps fellowship at a community health center in Queens, New York.  He served as Associate Director of the Primary Care Internal Medicine Residency Program at Cornell and Assistant Professor of Medicine.  In 2005 he completed a mid-career research fellowship and Masters degree in Public Health at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard School of Public Health.


Jerris Hedges, M.D., M.S., MMM

Dr. Jerris Hedges has served as the Dean of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, John a. Burns School of Medicine since March 2008.  Trained as an emergency physician, Dr. Hedges has spent the last 35 years contributing to the medical field through his work in clinical care, university teaching, research and administration.  At the internationally-respected Oregon Health  & Science  University’s  (OHSU) School of Medicine, Dr. Hedges served as Professor and Department Chair in Emergency Medicine and was named Vice Dean at OHSU in 2005.   Dr. Hedges’ leadership helped OHSU earn recognition as one of the “top ten” National Institutes of Health-funded academic emergency medicine research departments in the nation.  Dr. Hedges has also served as President of both the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine and the Association of Academic Chairs of Emergency Medicine. In October 2000, Dr. Hedges was elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine.  Dr.  Hedges earned a bachelor’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics, a master’s degree in chemical engineering, and a medical degree at the University of Washington.   He completed his residency at the Medical College of Pennsylvania and served on the faculty of the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine before joining OHSU.  Dr. Hedges also holds a Master of Medical Management degree from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California.


Keawe`aimoku Kaholokula, Ph.D.

Keawe`aimoku Kaholokula has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and is the Chair and Associate Professor of Native Hawaiian Health and Deputy Director for the Center of Native and Pacific Health Disparities Research in the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa.  He is a licensed clinical psychologist and has clinical experience in behavioral medicine.  His current research is funded by the National Institutes of Health to examine biological, pyschological, and socio-cultural factors (and their interplay) affecting Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander health and to develop community-based and culturally-relevant interventions.  He has worked in the area of Native Hawaiian health for 18 years.


Martina Kamaka, M.D.

Martina Leialoha Kamaka, MD is a Native Hawaiian physician who received her undergraduate degree (BA) from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana and MD degree from the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) at the University of Hawaii.  She is board certified in Family Practice.  She has been in private practice both in Pennsylvania and Hawaii.  From 1999-2005, she worked as Faculty and Curriculum Development Coordinator at the JABSOM Native Hawaiian Center of Excellence.  Currently she is an Associate Professor in the Department of Native Hawaiian Health (DNHH) at JABSOM where she is the director for the DNHH Cultural Competency Curriculum Development project.  The project, whose primary focus is addressing Native Hawaiian health disparities, is looking at innovative ways to teach cultural competency including the use of a variety of teaching methodologies.  She is blessed with the support of an incredible collaborative team comprised of members from the Department of Family Medicine, School of Social Work, Queen’s Hospital and a retired Department of Health official.  Dr. Kamaka is a founding member and past president of the ‘Ahahui o na Kauka (Association of Native Hawaiian Physicians).  Currently she serves on the Institutional Review Board and scientific advisory council for the Native Hawaiian Health Systems ‘Imi Hale Native Hawaiian Cancer Network.  She is extremely honored to be a founding member as well international steering committee representative on the board of the Pacific Region Indigenous Doctors Congress (PRIDoC).  She recently co-chaired the 4th biannual meeting of PRIDoC which has reinforced her beliefs that we have much to learn form and share with our indigenous colleagues from other countries.  Finally, she is very, very grateful for the incredible patience and support of her family.


Winona Lee, M.D.

Dr. Lee is the Director of the ‘Imi Ho‘ola Post-Baccalaureate Program and Principle Investigator for the Native Hawaiian Center of Excellence.  ‘Imi Ho‘ola and the NHCOE are key diversity programs located in the Department of Native Hawaiian Health at the University of Hawai‘i John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM). The mission of the ‘Imi Ho‘ola program is to improve health care in Hawai‘i and the Pacific by providing educational opportunities to students from disadvantaged backgrounds who have the potential to succeed in medicine and are committed to practice in underserved communities.  The Native Hawaiian Center of Excellence seeks to improve the health of all Native Hawaiians by recruiting students into the health professions, conducting health disparities research, promoting faculty and student development, implementing cultural competence development training, and disseminating information resources relevant to the health of Native Hawaiians. Dr. Lee received her medical degree from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa JABSOM and completed her residency in Pediatrics at the University of Hawai‘i Integrated Pediatrics Residency Program in Honolulu.  Dr. Lee’s primary interests include under-represented student recruitment and retention, medical professionalism, mentoring at risk youth, and cultural competency.


Michael Leoz, Esq.

Michael Leoz is the Regional Manager for Region IX of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights. Mr. Leoz is responsible for the overall investigation and resolution of all complaints and compliance reviews arising out of Region IX. Mr. Leoz also oversees the Region’s outreach and technical assistance initiatives. Region IX has jurisdiction over Health and Human Service fund recipients and covered entities located in the states of Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada and the U.S. Pacific Territories. Federal fund recipients include hospitals, state social service agencies, nursing homes and medical providers. The agency’s responsibilities include the enforcement of federal civil rights laws including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The agency is also responsible for the enforcement of the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules as well as the HITECH Breach Notification Final Rule. Due to the diverse population demographics of the states and territories in the Region, Region IX investigates and resolves a high number of Title VI complaints alleging failures to provide language services to limited English proficient individuals. Mr. Leoz is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and of the University of Southern California Law School.


James Merlino, M.D.

James Merlino, M.D., is the President and Chief Medical Officer for Press Ganey Strategic Consulting.  Previously he was Chief Experience Officer and Associate Chief of Staff of Cleveland Clinic, where he is a consultant staff colorectal surgeon.  He is the founder and current president of the Association for Patient Experience.  Named to HealthLeaders magazine’s 2013 list of “20 people who make healthcare better”, he is recognized world leader in the field of patient experience.  His book, Service Fanatics: How to Build Superior Patient Experience the Cleveland Clinic Way, was published by McGraw-Hill (2014).


 Noreen Mokuau, DSW

Noreen Mokuau, DSW, is Dean and Professor at the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa, Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work.  As a Native Hawaiian woman, she is committed to social work education that is anchored in excellence and founded in the unique attributes of Hawai`i and the Pacific-Asia region. She is a graduate of the Kamehameha Schools, the University of Hawai`i (BA-Psychology; MSW-Social Work) and the University of California, Los Angeles (DSW-Social Welfare).  She received the UH Regents Excellence in Teaching Award and the UH Community Service Award.  Presently, she is Co-Principal Investigator and Director of Hā Kūpuna: National Resource Center for Native Hawaiian Elders, and serves as a Commissioner on the Council on Social Work Education Commission for Diversity and Social and Economic Justice.   Dr. Mokuau has edited three books, published numerous journal articles, book chapters and technical reports, and given many presentations on cultural competency and social services for Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans.  As a scholar, mentor and teacher, Mokuau’s interests in cultural competency centers on social justice issues, including health disparities among Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and Asian populations, and care-giving issues for culturally diverse elders. A strong advocate for community-based participatory research, her research is rooted in the `ohana and community.  She acknowledges that her life work is based on the direction and guidance of her own `ohana, with special credit to the legacy of her parents.



Marc A. Nivet, Ed.D., MBA

Marc A. Nivet is the Chief Diversity Officer for the Association of American Medical Colleges, where he provides strategic vision and programmatic leadership on issues surrounding community engagement, workforce and student diversity, and health equity at universities, medical schools and teaching hospitals across the United States and Canada. Dr. Nivet has spent over 20 years in academic medicine developing creative program initiatives and innovative solutions that have helped universities and their academic health centers accelerate efforts to realize their mission of excellence in research, education and patient care.  Through his numerous writings, lectures and engagements with over 80 academic health centers, Dr. Nivet is a leader in the theory and design of transformative initiatives that elevate health equity and community engagement to a strategic level.  A skilled facilitator, he blends his background in finance, operations and strategic planning with his passion for health equity to ensure that academic health centers align their transformation efforts to meet the demands of a changing health care environment.

Prior to joining the AAMC, Dr. Nivet served as the Chief Operating Officer and Treasurer for the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation, which strives to foster innovation in health professional education that aligns workforce training with the dynamic needs of patients. He also served as a special assistant to the Senior Vice President for Health at New York University, where he conducted state and federal policy research to support comprehensive strategy development, and held a position in management of the Sallie Mae Fund, the philanthropic arm of the SLM Corporation.  Dr. Nivet’s experience in academic medicine also includes seven years as the Associate Executive Director of the Associated Medical Schools of New York, a consortium of the New York academic medical centers.  As the Associate Executive Director, he was charged with implementing and influencing state policy regulations on graduate medical education and developing programmatic efforts to create a diverse health workforce that more actively practices in health care shortage areas. He began his career in medical education in student affairs at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Nivet earned his Doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University Of Pennsylvania and his Masters of Business Administration degree with a focus on health care management from George Washington University’s School of Business.

Dr. Nivet is a fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine, and a former president of the National Association of Medical Minority Educators.  He currently serves the academic medicine community on a variety of boards and commissions. He is a member of the NIH National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council (NIGMS), HRSA Bureau of Health Professions National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice, the CDC Medical College Roundtable and is an advisor to the ETS Policy Evaluation and Research Council. He is a trustee of both the Arnold P. Gold Foundation and the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Institute of the Health Professions.

Gerald Ohta, MPH

Mr. Ohta is the Affirmative Action Officer of the Hawaii State Department of Health.  Currently, he is the State Agency Representative and Vice-Chair of the State Language Access Advisory Council and the Department of Health Language Access Coordinator.  He brings the perspective of a government agency administrator and provider to the council as well as the view of someone who was in on the development and passage of the Hawaii Language Access Law.  He has worked with schools, universities, enforcement agencies and public health agencies.  Mr. Ohta also brings to the council a wide range of contacts with language access advocates, organizations, and agencies here and nationally.


Danny M. Takanishi, Jr., M.D., FACS

Dr. Takanishi is currently a Professor for the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM), UHM, Program Director for the UHM General Surgery Residency Program, and Director of Surgical Clinical Research at the Queen’s Medical Center, in Honolulu, Hawaii.  A graduate of JABSOM, he completed his General Surgery Residency and Surgical Critical Care Fellowship in Hawaii, obtaining American Board of Surgery certification in both specialties.  He then completed a National Institutes of Health-sponsored, Surgical Oncology Fellowship at the University of Chicago and remained on the faculty for a number of years, serving as an Associate Program Director for the Surgical Residency Program and the Director of the Comprehensive Breast Center, prior to returning to Hawaii in 2001.  He is the President of the Hawaii Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, Chair of the Hawaii Medical Board, and the State Chair for the Commission on Cancer.  He is also a member of a number of national organizations, such as the Society of University Surgeons, Western Surgical Association, Society of Surgical Chairmen, Society of Surgical Oncology, American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Society of Breast Surgeons, Society of Critical Care Medicine, Pan Pacific Surgical Association, Association for Program Directors in Surgery, and Chair for the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Transitional Year Residency Review Committee.  He received an Outstanding Achievement Award from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer during the American College of Surgeons 92nd annual Clinical Congress in 2006.  He serves on the National Board of Examiners and United States Medical Licensing Examination Step II Surgery Test Development Committees and the American Medical Association House of Delegates representing the State of Hawaii.  He has also served as the Chair of the ACGME’s Common Program Requirements Committee and was recently appointed to the Surgery Residency Review Committee, which has a 6 year term, ending in 2018.


Ann Marie Yamada, Ph.D.

Ann Marie Yamada, Associate Professor, School of Social Work, University of Southern California, completed her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa with specialty training at the East West Center. She currently researches when and how clergy, community support systems and public mental health services might collaborate to support individuals with serious mental disorders, especially within Asian and Pacific Islander communities. Her research involves collaboration with public-sector mental health centers to develop or adapt services for culturally diverse, underserved, urban communities. Developing tools to facilitate the integration of culture in the assessment and routine care delivery is a priority. She currently participates on the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health’s Spiritual Care Program. She is a member of the Asian American Psychological Association and is a councilor on the Commission on Diversity, Social and Economic Justice of the National Council on Social Work Education.


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