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Medical Director Named for Hospital’s Native Hawaiian Program

March 11, 2013, 3:30 PM HST
* Updated March 11, 3:33 PM
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North Hawaii Community Hospital has named Dr. Leina`ala Crawford as medical director of its native Hawaiian health program.

Crawford will provide medical and administration guidance for the Native Hawaiian Health Clinic, which is now known as Kaheleaulani, and will serve as its primary physician.

The program established in September 2011 is designed to be responsive to the needs of native Hawaiians which make up nearly 30% of the community North Hawaii Community Hospital serves.

Crawford and Dr. Claren Ku`ulei Kealoha-Beaudet, Kaheleaulani’s clinical psychologist and program director, will oversee the Ho`omalule Project, which aims to provide native Hawaiian ohana with culturally informed medical, behavioral and other care.

With the help of funding from the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the project includes helping qualified participants reduce their body weight by 10% or more over a 12-month period by empowering native Hawaiians to be proactive in their overall health and well-being, hospital officials said.

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Crawford comes to Waimea from Overlake Hospital in Bellevue, Wash., where she was an urgent care and family practice physician. She also has experience in obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics and sports medicine.

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Crawford received her bachelor’s degree in biology from Central Washington University, her medical degree from Creighton Medical School in Omaha, Neb., and completed her residency in family medicine at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

“Dr. Crawford has energy and understanding of Native Hawaiian health that is obviously an important component of her personal identity,” Kealoha-Beaudet said. “We are humbled and grateful to have her join our Kaheleaulani team.”

Kaheleaulani is currently accepting patients who are native Hawaiians age 13 and older, non-Hawaiians who are married to a native Hawaiian or are a life partner of a native Hawaiian, non-Hawaiians who are widowed and whose spouse was a native Hawaiian, and non-Hawaiians who are divorced or separated from a native Hawaiian and have native Hawaiian children.

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“It is an honor to be a part of a movement to better the health and well-being of our people of Hawai`i,” Crawford said.

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