UH Med Now

Q&A with Nicole Nakamatsu, JABSOM MS 2023 & Miss Hawaii Volunteer 2020

Date: April 30th, 2021 in JABSOM News    Print or PDF

COVID-19 obliterated many events in 2020, including the inaugural Miss Hawaii Volunteer pageant on September 27, when JABSOM’s Nicole Nakamatsu, a 2nd year medical student, was crowned. 

Nicole Nakamatsu MS 2023

Nicole Nakamatsu is a second-year medical student at JABSOM.

“Miss Hawaii Volunteer is a new pageant in Hawaii that selects young women who SERVE their communities through Scholarship, Education, Responsibility, Volunteerism, and Empowerment,” Nakamatsu wrote. “As the spokesperson for the organization, I had [and have] the opportunity to work with the American Lung Association to promote lung health and empower young women in Hawaii through exemplary service.”

Nakamatsu was treated as a young girl for scoliosis at Shriners Hospital. Orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Craig Ono suggested she wear a torso brace to help her avoid surgery. She wore the encumbrance from age 10 to 16-years old — and avoided surgery. That experience and Ono’s gentle manner ignited in Nakamatsu the desire to become a physician.

Get to know Nakamatsu through this Q&A:

  1. Tell us about your year as the first Miss Volunteer Hawaii in the year of C19. 

Although COVID-19 posed a lot of problems for the Miss Hawaii Volunteer organization, I have had many opportunities to promote the organization’s core values of scholarship, education, responsibility, volunteerism, and empowerment, through service. I am currently working with the American Lung Association to deliver virtual and interactive presentations to elementary school students about the importance of lung health and the dangers of vaping. I have also had the opportunity to establish relationships with various community members and inspire young women to serve their communities with compassion.

  1. Do you think the title added an unexpected dimension to your medical school studies? 

Absolutely. This title not only adds a new facet to my life, but enhances what it means to be a medical student who aspires to serve people as a physician in the future. In choosing medicine, I have chosen to dedicate my life to serving others. Through this title, I have been given a very unique way of serving our local community through inspiring others to serve their communities and to promote lung health in Hawaii. 

  1. Has the combined experience of being a medical student and Miss Volunteer broadened your perspective on people and patients, and life in general?  

I do believe this experience has afforded me the opportunity to meet new people, create new relationships, and reach more people than I could have ever imagined possible. As a result, I have gained life experiences that have shaped the ways in which I approach people and situations in my everyday life. I believe these skills will only positively impact the ways in which I treat my future patients. 

  1. Tell us about a project you have going on with the Anatomy department.

I am currently working with Dr. Scott Lozanoff on a series of research projects analyzing student perspectives of the integration of virtual, case-based learning modules, utilizing MRI and extended-reality technology. The innovative technology that the Department of Anatomy, Biochemistry, and Physiology is using has endless potential to enhance the learning experiences of medical students, which excited me for the future of this research. 

  1. What’s next for you here at JABSOM?

I am hoping to publish some of the research projects I am currently working on and am very excited for the opportunity to begin my clinical rotations. I am excited to work with patients and build relationships in the community that I hope to foster as a physician in the future.

By Paula Bender, JABSOM News.
Featured photo: Miss Hawaii Volunteer 2020 Nicole Nakamatsu is also a JABSOM second-year medical student. Photos provided by Nicole Nakamatsu.


Share this: