Health Center Welcomes Oneha

Mary Frances Oneha

Mary Frances Oneha

A veteran public health nurse is joining Waimanalo Health Center as its executive director, the center’s board of directors announced last week.

Mary Frances Oneha, formerly director of quality and performance at Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, brings to the Waimanalo job decades of experience, research and advocacy for Native Hawaiian health. Regarded as a culturally sensitive leader, she will oversee all operations and champion its mission of delivering quality care to the underserved in the community.

Saying she is “truly humbled” to be selected, the Kaimuki resident has vowed to make a positive impact, despite current conditions: “Today we are faced with a challenging and changing healthcare environment emphasizing value over volume,” she said. “I hope to focus efforts on maximizing information technology, workforce training and community-based participatory research to achieve sustained quality improvement, with a particular emphasis on improving Native Hawaiian health.”

Outgoing executive director of the center, which serves more than 4,000 patients annually, is May Akamine, RN. Akamine praised Oneha’s “wealth of experience” and extensive knowledge of how health centers work in and for the community.

Oneha has her BS in nursing from UH-Manoa, master of nursing from University of Washington and doctorate from University of Colorado (and she was the first Native Hawaiian nurse to achieve a Ph.D.). She also serves on several boards, including Chaminade’s School of Nursing Advisory Board and Na Limahana o Lonopuha Native Hawaiian Health Consortium. She also has earned the APRN designation (advanced practice registered nurse).