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Dr. Kalani Brady retires, leaves behind a broad legacy

Date: December 29th, 2021 in JABSOM News, Native Hawaiian, Native Hawaiian Health, UH Manoa    Print or PDF

Dr. Kalani Brady

After 35 years at JABSOM, 18 of them within the medical school’s Department of Native Hawaiian Health (DNHH), Dr. Stephen “Kalani” Brady will be retiring at the end of December 2021.
At age three, Dr. Brady says he already knew he was called to be a physician to take care of people in a way that was special. “Much like a priest that helps people with their spiritual health, doctors help people with their overall health,” he said.

After graduating from St. Louis High School, he attended Harvard University where he graduated with honors in engineering and applied physics. He then enrolled at the University of Hawai‘i (UH) at Mānoa and earned a masterʻs degree in public health, and a masters and doctorate in biostatistics and epidemiology from the University of Pennsylvania. After completing his medical studies in 1982, he returned to Hawai‘i for residency training in internal medicine. Dr. Brady began his career at the UH John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) in 1986 and is currently the director of the Office of Faculty Affairs and Continuing Medical Education. In 2003, Dr. Brady was also appointed associate professor to the DNHH. He has been recognized with a long list of awards throughout his illustrious career, including “Physician of the Year” by multiple organizations.

His medical background and understanding of the local culture in Hawaiʻi also opened the door for him as the beloved featured physician on the weekly “Ask A Doctor” segment on the KHON FOX Channel 2 Morning News for the past 26 years. The segment was so popular, that when Dr. Brady was first approached and began treating the Hawaiian residents of Kalaupapa of Hansenʻs disease in 2003 (with a team of doctors also of Hawaiian ancestry), an introduction to the closed and tight knit community was not necessary. They had already been watching him each weekly on KHON and felt comfortable with him. That trusted and valued relationship has lasted for 19 years, as there are only a handful of patients that are now in their 90’s that are still alive. Dr. Brady still travels to see them every month and continues to advocate for them.

“Kalani has been a moving force in the advancement of the discipline of Medicine at JABSOM and has inspired many to seek better health here in Hawaii,” said JABSOM Dean Jerris Hedges. “While supporting JABSOM, the Office of Faculty Affairs and its Department of Native Hawaiian Health (including service as interim department chair) in many ways, he has also led the editorial board for the state’s peer-reviewed health journal (The Hawaii Journal of Health & Social Welfare) for decades and fostered multi-professional education through his statewide work in CME.”

Professor and Chair of Native Hawaiian Health Dr. Joseph Keaweʻaimoku Kaholokua said, “Dr. Brady is the physician who provided excellent clinical care to so many Native Hawaiians and their families, the medical educator who trained so many medical students and residents and a community leader who gave so much to the people of Hawai’i. His retirement, although well-deserved, will leave a void in our department that cannot be filled.”

On the “retirement to-do” list for Dr. Brady includes things like spending time and baby sitting his new twin grandchildren, along with their four year old big sister; traveling with his wife Jun, and focusing on his health, which he says definitely includes exercise.

-By TC (Chun) Vegas, Special Events

See photos from the Farewell Event
Dr. Kalani Brady and Mele Look Retirement

Dr. Kalani Brady

Dr. Kalani Brady with a custom paddle gifted by the Department of Native Hawaiian Health. Deborah Dimaya photo.

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