ALUMNI: Sacred Hearts Academy honors Dr. Momi Elizabeth Ka`anoi

Dr. Momi Elizabeth Ka`anoi, a graduate of the University of Hawai`i Family Medicine Residency Program, is the most recent alumna of the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) to be named a Distinguished Alumnae of the Sacred Hearts Academy. Ka’anoi was honored at a ceremony on October 18 which was attended by a vocal cheerleading session including several of her colleagues. The event was held at the Sheraton-Waikiki Beach Resort Hotel.

Other MD alumna previously honored at Sacred Hearts Academy include Tina Chun (OB-GYN, deceased), Leticia Diniega (OB-GYN), Desiree Medeiros (Pediatric Hematologist-Oncologist) and Maureen Chang Takahashi (Pediatrics). All women completed their core residency training in OB-GYN or Pediatrics in Hawai`i.

Dr. Lee Buenconsejo-Lum said Dr. Ka`anoi’s spouse, Dr. Neal Palafox (JABSOM Family Medicine) also was there to help lead the applause. “A big mahalo to JABSOM Dean Jerris Hedges for sponsoring the table,” added Dr. Buenconsejo-Lum.

More about Dr. Ka`anoi
Momi Elizabeth Ka`anoi is a third-generation graduate of the Academy. She followed after her sister, Maile R. K. Sjostrand (’86), mother, Genevieve Reeves Ka`anoi (’62), aunts, and grandmother, Rose Simerson Reeves (’29). She played Lancer softball under Wade Okamura, became an all-star first baseman, and learned the values of leadership, teamwork and commitment. She said the Academy equipped her for college and life through an exceptional education, strengthened faith, nurtured compassion and dedication.

Ka`anoi attended the University of Portland, Oregon and received a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She attended the `Imi Ho`ōla Post-Baccalaureate Program at JABSOM, obtained her MD degree from the John A. Burns School of Medicine in 1997, and completed her Family Medicine Residency Training at the JABSOM Family Medicine Residency Program in 2000. Momi also completed a two-year faculty development fellowship with emphasis in teaching and research. Among other accomplishments and work with `Imi Hale, Momi worked with the Native Hawaiian Civic Clubs to promote colon cancer screening in Native Hawaiians.

As a recipient of the Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship, Dr. Ka`anoi worked with Ho`ola Lāhui Hawai`i, the Native Hawaiian healthcare system on Kauai for 5 years and helped start the first community health center there as its medical director. She was the sole provider, saw patients full-time, served as the clinic’s administrator, conducted research, gave speeches around the state about colorectal cancer, traveled to meet healthcare demands on the other side of the island, and began a new clinic in Kapa`a and another in Waimea.

As director of three clinics, she monitored all medical, dental and behavioral health, which included social work, substance abuse counseling and case management. She returned to O`ahu to work at the Waimanalo Health Center with its Community Diabetes Prevention Program. Dr. Ka`anoi is married to Dr. Neal Palafox. She is a mother of 4 children and 3 step children. She attends St. John Vianney Parish.

Pictured: Jill Omori (JABSOM FM/Office of Medical Education), Sheldon Riklon (JABSOM Family Medicine), Malia Lee (JABSOM Native Hawaiian Center of Excellence/Family Medicine), Satoru Izutsu (JABSOM Vice Dean Emeritus). Standing left to right: Winona Lee (Native Hawaiian Center of Excellence), Lee Buenconsejo-Lum (FM), Momi Ka`anoi (Family Medicine), Angela Pratt (JABSOM OB-GYN), Sasha Fernandes (Native Hawaiian Center of Excellence), Nanette Judd (former Director, Native Hawaiian Center of Excellence and the `Imi Ho`ola program), Alean Cook-Palmer (Family Medicine).

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