Of Doctors and Nurses

From The Editor’s Desk

Of Doctors and Nurses

I’ve always known there are a lot of Filipinos in the nursing field so it’s surprising that only recently the Filipino nurses on Maui have organized themselves to strengthen their relationships, network, and engage in community service projects.

Dr. Jose Ligot Romero was the first Doctor of Filipino ancestry to practice medicine on Maui in 1965.

What I didn’t know was there are about twenty doctors of Filipino ancestry on Maui. Wow! That’s quite a number. Many of the staff on The Fil-Am Voice can remember when Maui had only one doctor of Filipino ancestry—Dr. Jose L. Romero, who came to Maui in 1965, followed by Dr. Hilario Aquilizan in 1972 and others later on.

Yes, I will admit there’s comfort in having a doctor who understands you, your cultural habits, and most times speaks your language. My personal physician, Dr. Rose Guzman at Maui Medical Group has taken care of me for the last seven years. Yes, she understands me and has a very gentle nature.

I recently read that the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawai‘i had twelve graduates in 2019 of Filipino ancestry (compared to four in 2018), including Maui’s Celina Macadangdang Hayashi, who is now in her residency in Washington state.

It’s heartening to know Filipinos in Hawai‘i, especially on Maui, are becoming doctors and are practicing here. My wife Telly’s son Ryan is a pharmacist, having graduated from the Pharmacy School at the University of Hawai‘i Hilo, and he was on Maui for a few years before returning to the Big Island. We are very proud of him and his accomplishments and we look for more good things to come from him.

Filipino doctors and Filipino nurses play an important role in our life. We are fortunate that here on Maui, our Filipino doctors and our Filipino nurses have decided to create organizations that can only improve the quality of healthcare on Maui for all of us, especially our Filipino community.