NEWS RELEASE: Governor, Dean, Native Hawaiian health leaders express sadness over the death of Health Director Loretta Fuddy

Gov. Neil Abercrombie and University of Hawai`i John A. Burns School of Medicine Dean Jerris Hedges, MD and the school’s Chair of Native Hawaiian Health shared the following statements today regarding the passing of Hawai`i Department of Health Director Loretta Deliana Fuddy.

“Our hearts are broken. Loretta was deeply loved and respected. She was selfless, utterly dedicated, and committed to her colleagues in the Department of Health and to the people of Hawai`i. Her knowledge was vast; her counsel and advice always given from her heart as much as from her storehouse of experience,” said Gov. Abercrombie, after speaking with Dr. Fuddy’s family.

“We send our best thoughts to her family and will do all in our power to reflect her professionalism, her love of Hawai`i and the high standard she set for herself and all of us,” Abercrombie said.

In the health science campuses of the University of Hawai`i, there was sadness — and appreciation. “The University of Hawai’i medical school is saddened to have lost such a perceptive, courageous leader,” said Dean Jerris Hedges of the John A. Burns School of Medicine.  

The board of Papa Ola Lokahi also issued a statement of loss, calling Director Fuddy a "pillar of support." Papa Ola Lokahi includes Native Hawaiian Health organizations and the UH. Standing L-R: Hardy Spoehr (POL executive director), Loretta Hussey, Analika Nahulu, Loretta Deliana Fuddy, David Lovell, Kilipaki Vaughan & Michelle Malia Hiraishi (executive director of Native Hawaiian Health Care System on Island of Hawai‘i).  Seated L-R:  Betty Jenkins, Kekuni Blaisdell, MD & Vivian Ainoa.

The board of Papa Ola Lokahi also issued a statement of loss, calling Director Fuddy a “pillar of support.” Papa Ola Lokahi includes Native Hawaiian Health organizations and the UH. Standing L-R: Hardy Spoehr (POL executive director), Loretta Hussey, Analika Nahulu, Loretta Deliana Fuddy, David Lovell, Kilipaki Vaughan & Michelle Malia Hiraishi (executive director of Native Hawaiian Health Care System on Island of Hawai‘i). Seated L-R: Betty Jenkins, Kekuni Blaisdell, MD & Vivian Ainoa.

 

“Dr. Fuddy made us proud as a graduate of UH’s former School of Public Health,” said Dean Hedges. “As Director, she worked closely with our faculty, staff and students to provide improved health care to the people of Hawai’i, said the Dean. We cherish our close relationship with the Hawai’i State Department of Health and we are thinking of all of its employees today as they cope with this tragedy. Dr. Fuddy and her employees are in serve in their jobs because seek to make life better for the rest of us. She has sucessfully done so, and we are fortunate to have known and worked with Dr. Loretta Fuddy.”

The Chair of JABSOM’s Department of Native Hawaiian Health, Dr. Keawe`aimoku Kaholokula, offered insight into the service Dr. Fuddy provided to the people of Hawai`i.

Deliana was a true champion of social determinants of health and Native Hawaiian health – a sincere passion not found in the Directors before her.  She sat on the Papa Ola Lokahi Board of Directors with me and is co-founder of Na Limahana o Lonopuha Native Hawaiian Health Consortium.  In all of my interactions with her, I was impressed by her commitment to improve the health of the poor, underserved, and indigenous peoples and how she was able to articulate the issues that needed to be addressed.  I had a meeting recently with her about asking the State to convene a Native Hawaiian Health Improvement Task Force and whether it was something that the Department of Health could support along with OHA.  I want you to know that she was committed to supporting this task force and offered her wisdom and guidance to us.  Not only will her passing impact all people of Hawai‘i, it will have a greater impact on our Native Hawaiian community.  Let us hope that the next Director will honor her by continuing her vision and passion,” said Dr. Kaholokula.

To post comments in honor of Dr. Fuddy, we direct you to DOH FACEBOOK.

 

Our photograph taken this past fall at the UH Cancer Center, shows Dr. Fuddy in one of many instances where she played an active role as a health partner of the University Health Sciences programs.

 

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