Will Chapple, MD, Chief Resident
University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine and Public Health
I am a proud graduate of Kahakai Elementary and Kealakehe Intermediate schools in Kona. I have since completed my undergraduate and graduate work at UH Manoa, a degree in Chinese Medicine on Oahu, and medical school on the mainland. I am happy to return to the Big Island with my wife to raise our two young children and to once again enjoy lilikoi and lychee.
Unity Nguyen, MD
University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine
“While working with the Peace Corps to address the threat of deforestation by planting 50,000 trees in Ghana, West Africa, a boy who had befriended me and visited daily hadn’t come around for a few days. When I went to check on him at his mother’s hut, I found him nearly dead in her arms from malaria because she did not have the two dollars for choloroquine. I bicycled with the limp child to town to get treatment. The next day he was back on his feet and calling my name. Filled with gratitude, I saw that the underlying goal of all of my cultural and ecological work was to improve people’s health. To do this more directly, I decided to study medicine.”
Gaku Yamaguchi, MD
Ross University School of Medicine, Dominica
“I was born in Japan, grew up in Singapore and Los Angeles. I am happy to be in this residency program that gives me the opportunity to learn and provide health care in my new home town. Outside of medicine, I enjoy hiking, cooking, and watching my papaya trees grow.”
Class of 2017
Kaohimanu Dang Akiona, MD, Chief Resident
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
I was born and raised in central Oahu, graduated from the Kamehameha Schools (Imua!) and pursued concurrent degrees in Hawaiian Studies and Cell & Molecular Biology at the University of Hawai`i at Manoa. Before heading to the University of Pittsburgh for medical school, I spent nearly 10 years as a research scientist- first starting in basic science- cell signaling and genomics and later transitioning into public health and translational research, particularly focusing on health disparities in Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders. One of my proudest achievements was designing and implementing the Cancer Patient Navigation training curriculum statewide with the goal of improving care coordination for patients with cancer, particularly those from the neighbor islands. Subsequent research projects continued to focus on health education and disease prevention in the context of reducing health disparities.
It was this community driven research, together with my appreciation for my own family physician, Dr. William Clevenger that really directed my journey toward medicine. As a Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship recipient, I was able to train at an amazing institution (Hail to Pitt!) with the knowledge and intent that I’d return home to Hawai`i to serve my people, and be closer to my family (and the ocean). I am very happy to now call Hilo home, and proud to be a part of Hilo Medical Center. Currently, my hobbies remain running away from dinosaur pirates, fighting bad guys, building trains to save my husband, or whatever amazing mission my 5 year-old daughter thinks up.
Svetlana Shchedrina, MD
Russian State Medical University
Aloha! I am Svetlana. I was born in Russia and graduated from Russian State Medical University in Moscow. My husband and I came to Hawaii in 2011 from Nebraska and fell in love with the Big Island. We have two wonderful children who enjoy year-around summer time at the ocean too.
In my free time I enjoy scuba diving, hiking, reading of classical literature and traveling around the Island. And, sure, the most enjoyable time for me is to be with my family. As a physician and loving mother I understand the importance of stable and accessible primary care.
Today I have a great opportunity to serve my new home town community as a family physician. This is why I chose this program, which is oriented toward training primary practitioners who will dedicate their professional lives serving in the unique health care system of the Big Island.
Seren Tokumura, MD
University of Hawaii-Manoa’s John A. Burns School of Medicine
I was born and raised in Hawaii and graduated from Iolani School on Oahu. I attended Santa Monica College and graduated from the University of California San Diego. I attended the John A. Burns School of Medicine and did two years of general surgery residency at the University of Colorado in Denver before returning to Hawaii. Prior to joining the Hawaii Island Family Medicine program, I was in private concierge practice in Honolulu.