Dr. Lynn Iwamoto Receives First-Ever Hawaiʻi Health Partners Member of the Year Award

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For more than three decades, Dr. Lynn Iwamoto has served Hawaiʻi as a Neonatologist at Kapiʻolani Medical Center for Women & Children while training the next generation of pediatricians as a JABSOM faculty.

Those decades of service have been recognized over the last 12 months. In June 2023, Iwamoto was on the cover of Honolulu Magazine and featured as one of the state's top doctors. This month, she was honored by Hawaiʻi Pacific Health and Hawaiʻi Health Partners as the Member of the Year for making the healthcare landscape safer for patients. Iwamoto created the Maintenance Certification Program, which gives physicians credit for their quality and patient safety work. 

Years ago, once doctors became certified, they stayed certified throughout their careers. 

"You would do your Continuing Medical Education to be able to keep your license in the state you practice, but that's really all you had to do," Iwamoto said.

However, in medicine, advances and breakthroughs are constant. That's why the American Board of Medical Specialties started requiring physicians to stay up to date, ensuring they're equipped to serve and care for patients with a full spectrum of ever-evolving knowledge. 

 "They're showing that they're really trying to keep up with the information that is rapidly increasing and that they're trying to do things to help their patients by improving care," Iwamoto said. 

Through the Maintenance Certification Program, Iwamoto created a blueprint for physicians at Hawaiʻi Pacific Health to get credit to keep them current within the American Board of Medical Specialties standards. 

"The whole board perspective is that physicians are already doing the work, so what we just want to do is give them credit for what they are already doing."

 So, Iwamoto started crafting the guidelines for HPH. She shares an example of something HPH physicians were already working on that they can now receive credits for. 

"In neonatology, we have been working to improve our breast milk rates for preemie babies. In this quality improvement effort, we developed educational interventions to help educate the staff and parents of the importance of breast milk feedings. As a result, we were able to show an increase in the number of babies who went home with breast milk feedings, which not only contributes to better outcomes for babies, but we were able to give our physicians credit for actively participating in the project.”

Iwamoto was presented with the award during the 10th Annual Hawaiʻi Health Partners Membership Meeting at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Always humble, Iwamoto is grateful to have the opportunity to serve her community.

"The sense of giving back is special," Iwamoto said. Being part of the community is being able to contribute. That's the best part of practicing medicine here."