Meet the Doctors From Our June 2023 Cover
Drs. Lynn M. Iwamoto, Bradley Tokeshi and Hisami Oba are carrying on a proud tradition of caring for the Hawai‘i community.
Half a century has passed since the John A. Burns School of Medicine welcomed its first class of four-year medical students. Prior to 1973, the school only offered two years of education to aspiring doctors, who would then leave Hawai‘i for further training. Now, JABSOM’s mission is to recruit students and retain them, from medical school and residency to fellowship and faculty.
Hundreds of physicians from Hawai‘i land on Castle Connolly Top Doctors each year out of more than 11,000 who are licensed here. Meet the three who grace the cover of this issue—all proud graduates of JABSOM.
SEE ALSO: 2023 Top Doctors in Hawai‘i
Dr. Lynn M. Iwamoto, a neonatologist at Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women and Children, cares for fragile newborns who arrive a wee bit early. “They are so tiny that every treatment, every medication, has to be extremely precise,” says Iwamoto, associate division director of neonatology at Kapi‘olani and a Castle Connolly Top Doctor. “It can be very intense and fast-paced.”
Every day, she witnesses strength from the babies’ families who “step up and don’t give up, the ultimate definition of unconditional love.”
Kapi‘olani is where Iwamoto completed her pediatric residency and fellowship after graduating from JABSOM in 1988. She is also a faculty member in the school’s pediatrics department.
She praises the school’s influence, which extends beyond its classrooms and labs. It provides free health seminars for older adults and mentorship programs for high school students, for example. “That’s what JABSOM is trying to do—help the community continue to thrive and grow.”
Dr. Bradley Tokeshi is a pulmonary and critical-care physician with The Queen’s Health System, specializing in advanced bronchoscopy and pulmonary procedures. Queen’s is the only health care provider in the state that uses robotic navigational bronchoscopy technology to significantly reduce the treatment time for lung cancer.
A 2011 graduate of JABSOM, Tokeshi completed his residency in internal medicine in Hawai‘i, then moved to UC Davis Medical Center in California for a fellowship in pulmonary and critical care. He’s one of Castle Connolly’s Top Doctors.
Tokeshi’s role model is his father, Dr. Jinichi Tokeshi, a family physician at Kuakini Medical Center and clinical faculty member at JABSOM. Jinichi Tokeshi migrated from Okinawa more than 50 years ago to study biology at UH Mānoa and joined the first four-year class of medical students at JABSOM in 1973. “He is still hands-down, easily the best, most empathetic, committed, professional physician I know,” Bradley Tokeshi says.
Dr. Hisami Oba, a primary-care physician at Kaiser Permanente’s Māpunapuna clinic, vividly remembers how she felt as a medical student giving a speech at JABSOM’s “willed-body ceremony”—a memorial service honoring those who donated their bodies to the school for research. The love, respect and appreciation for the silent teachers and their grieving families left her “in awe of the privilege that we as physicians are given to enter some of the most sacred places within a patient’s life,” she says.
The medical school was Oba’s own sacred place, a haven where she felt “cared for, seen, heard and truly valued” as a person and future physician. She graduated in 2017 and completed a residency at Kaiser Permanente Hawai‘i.
Today, the Castle Connolly Rising Star serves as the associate program director of Kaiser Permanente’s internal medicine residency program. “It brings me true joy to encourage and train the new generation of physicians,” Oba says.