“Journeys to Wellness” Keynote Speakers and Topics

 1. “Journeys to Wellness I”  Oct. 13, 2012

Keynote Speaker:   Joanne Doi, M.M., Ph.D.

Topic: “Transformative Journeys Toward Wellness”

Dr. Doi served for many years in southern Andes of Peru among the Aymara people where she engaged in popular education and religion.  She spoke on the Ph.D. dissertation, “Bridges to Compassion: Theological Pilgrimage to Tule Lake and Manzana.” It focused on the spiritual practices of collective memory, post-trauma reconciliation and solidarity as ways of healing and wellness for the individual and community.


Respondent:  Rev. Teruo Kawata, UCC Conference Minister(ret.) and former relocation camp internee during World War II.


2.  “Journeys to Wellness II”  Oct. 5, 2013

Keynote Speaker:  Rev. Teruo Kawata, D. Min.

Topic:  “The Healing Power of Gaman (persevere in Japanese)

The Rev. Teruo Kawata is the former conference minister of the United Church of Christ in Hawaii.  His address was based on how he and other Japanese interned during World War II survived the Poston War Relocation Center in Arizona.  It was to practice gaman or endurance.

Respondents:  Rev. Barbara Grace Ripple, former superintendent of the Hawai`i District of the United Methodist Church, and Rev. Thomas Okano, former Bishop of the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawai`i.


Download the 2013 Event Program 

3.  “Journeys to Wellness III”  Oct. 18, 2014

Panel on the topic, “The Role of Spirituality in Healing and Wellness”

Panelists:  Jeffrey Akaka, M.D., medical director of the Diamond Head Community Mental Health Center;

Kalani Brady, M.D., internal medicine, Lau Ola Clinic;

John Houk, M.D., internal medicine, Queen’s Medical Center;

Naomi Morita, M.D., staff physician, St. Francis Hospice


Moderator:  Sr. Joan Chatfield, M.M., Ph.D.


The panel presented the role of spirituality in healing and wellness from the perspectives of Buddhism, Christianity and Hawaiian spirituality.  It also offered insights from general medical practice, psychiatry and hospice care.


4. “Journeys to Wellness IV”   Oct. 31, 2015

Keynote Speaker:  Frances H. Kakugawa

Topic:  “The Healing Power of Voice and Silence”

Frances Kakugawa is an award winning author, poet, educator and inspirational speaker. Among her 12 internationally published books, several are about bringing dignity and compassion to Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers. Her talk lifted up stories of her own and from others that told of how both words and silence can bring healing and hope.


Respondents:  Bishop Eric Matsumoto, current Bishop of the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawai`i; and Rev. Ron Williams, senior minister of the Community Church of Honolulu.


Moderator: Puanani Burgess, widely acclaimed poet and cultural translator. She has also been recognized for her work in mediation and the development of community-based organizations.

Download the 2015 Event Program


5. “Journeys to Wellness V”  Oct. 22, 2016

Panel on the topic, “Alternative Paths to Wellness that Work!”

Panelists:  Claire Ku`uleilani Hughes, Ph.D.,  served the State Dept. of Health for33 years as a public health administrator, nutritionist and registered dietician. She spoke on the path offered by Hawaiian spirituality;

Arnaldo Oliveira, Ph.D., is a facial-trauma surgeon trained in Brazil. He currently is in private practice at the Lam Clinic in Honolulu, specializing in electro-dermal screening and therapy and electro-acupuncture according to Voll;

Norman Oshiro, B.S. in Human Development, is the executive director of MOA Hawai`i Wellness Center in Kaka`ako, which offers a range of integrative services for physical and spiritual enrichment and improvement. He is a MOA purification therapist, organic farm specialist and licensed massage therapist;

Ruey Ryburn, Ph.D. in public health and Master’s in nursing. In 2201 she started the Sacred Path Healing School in her Maunalni Hts home that offers a three-year program of study leading to a diploma in spiritual healing. She is also a certified teacher of Sacred Health Yoga.


Moderator:  David Laeha, CPA, president and founder of CFO Hawai`i, with over 30 years of financial “healing” experience of various mainland and local firms.

Download the 2016 Event Program

6.  Journeys to Wellness VI                               Saturday, October 14, 2017


Keynote Speaker:  John Houk, M.D., primary care internist, physician leader and teacher

Topic:  “Aging: A Doctor’s Perspective”

Sub-topics: What can you expect as you age? The secrets of aging well. Caring for aged. End of life: preparation and completion.


Puanani Burgess, widely acclaimed poet, teacher and cultural translator.

Rev. Dr. Jayaprakash (JP) Sabbithi, Director of Counseling Services, Hospice Hawai`i

Rev. Dr. Teruo Kawata, past Conference Minister of the United Church of Christ in Hawai`i


Moderator: Rev. Dr. Wally Fukunaga, President, Sunrise Foundation

Download the 2017 Event Program


7.  Journeys to Wellness VII                           Saturday, October 13, 2018


Keynote Speaker:  Randal K. Wada, M.D., Associate Professor of Nursing, School of Nursing, and Division Chief of Hermatology/Oncology at the John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawai`i.

Topic:  “Resilience and Mortality: Conversations Your Doctors Wish They Could Have With You”


Wendi Major, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children

Ruey Ryburn, Dr. PH,  Founder and Director of the Sacred Path Healing School in Hawai`i.


Moderator:  Rev. Dr. JP Sabbithi, Board member, Sunrise Foundation

Download the 2018 Event Program

8.   “Journeys to Wellness VIII”                            Saturday Sept, 28, 2019

Keynote Speaker:  Caroline Sakai, PhD.  Dr. Sakai is a psychologist in private practice. She is an authorized trainer of Thought Field Therapy(“Tapping”) for two decades and has conducted many training courses for health professionals. She has done extensive work helping genocide victims in Rwanda and at-risk youth in Hawai`i.

Topic:  Helping hands for health

             Overcoming adversity

             Promoting growth in spirit, mind and body

             Enhancing well-being

Respondents: Rev. David Rivers, Sr. Minister, Central Union Church

             Pōkā Laenui, attorney & former Executive Director, Waianae Coast Community Health Center  


Download the 2019 event program


Note:  The teachings and practices presented in these workshops do not necessarily reflect the views of or constitute an endorsement by the Sunrise Foundation.


The workshops offered and their presenters listed in a chronological order:

1.   Aloha: from Violence to Wholeness   Presenters: Kahu Kaleo Patterson & Ha`aheo Guanson, Ph.D., Pacific Justice & Reconciliation Center

2.  Balancing One’s Energy   Presenter:  Corey Wong, Asian Horizons

3. Contemplative Prayer & Christian Practice   Presenter: Rev. Ron Williams, Community Church of Honolulu


4. Healthy Eating    Presenter: Kathy Maddux, Mohala Organic Farms


5. Mindfulness Meditation   Presenter: Ernestine Enomoto, Honolulu Mindfulness Community


6. Forgiveness   Presenter:  Michael North, Hawai`i Forgiveness Project


7. Finding the Sacred in the Ordinary  Presenter: Jeff Acido, Ph.D., Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services


8.  Reiki  Presenters:  Alan & Rosemary Goto, private practitioners


9.  Music as a Source for Healing  Presenter:  Tom Poole, Calvary by the Sea Lutheran Church


10.  Finding Your Greatness   Presenter: Kahu Lahela Johnson, private practitioner


11. Creative Expression in Art   Presenter: Michael Yano, private artist


12. Magic as a Way of Healing   Presenter: Rev. Don Asman, UCC minister (retired)


13.  Dances of Universal Peace   Presenter: Valerie Noor Kerima Payton, M.A., M.S.W., Dances of Universal Peace in Kaneohe


14.  Essence of Ho`oponopono   Presenter: Puanani Burgess, One-Peace-At-A-Time


15. Qigong & Taijiquan    Presenter:  Corey Wong, Asian Horizons


16. Loving Kindness & Compassion   Presenter: Gregory Pai, Ph.D., Broken Ridge Korean Temple


17. Yoga   Presenter:  Ramdas Lamb, Ph.D., University of Hawai`i


18. Mindfulness Meditation and Practices  Presenter: Gregory Pai, Ph.D., Broken Ridge Korean Temple


20. Movement: The Prayer of the Whole Self   Presenter: Sr. Soo Yoo Kim, M.M., Maryknoll Sisters Community in Lanikai, Oahu


21. Okada Health & Wellness Program   Presenter: Norman Oshiro, MOA Hawai`i Wellness Center


22. The Tao of Caregiving: A Map    Presenter, Clarence Liu, Hospice Chaplain (retired)


23. Lomilomi: Traditional Hawaiian Spiritual Healing Touch  Presenter: BettyAnn Kamakani, private practitioner


24.  Tai chi   Presenter: Tommy Amina, Nuuanu YMCA & Community Church of Honolulu


25.  Laughter Yoga & Meditation   Presenters: John and Inessa Love, Honolulu Laughter Club


26. Ho`oponopono in Daily Life   Presenter: Bruce Keaulani, Living Life Source Foundation


27. Introduction to Reiki   Presenter:  Melissa Clark, Usui Method of Natural Healing


28.  The Christian Healing Ministry: Grounded and Experiential Experience of the Divine  Presenter: Rev. Christopher Golding, Episcopal Diocese of Hawai`i


29. Nakem Pedogogy and Popular Education Healing Presenter: Jeffrey Acido, Ph.D., Kokua Kalihi Valley


30. 5 Elements Healing Sounds  Presenter: Corey Wong, Asian Horizons


31. Spirituality and End of Life Issues       Presenter: Rev. Dr. JP Sabbithi


32. Building the Beloved Community with Storytelling   Presenter: Puanani Burgess


33. Sacred Paths of Energy Healing                   Presenter: Ruey Ryburn, DrPH


34. Writing and the Coming Together of Body, Mind and Spirit    Presenter:  Jimmy Toyama


35. Secrets on Reclaiming Your Health                 Presenter: Leslie Sharp


36. Millennials’ Pursuit of Wellness in Today’s World    Presenters: Jeffrey Acido, Ph.D., Kevin Faller, Grace Jean-Pierre, Gregg Yamauchi & Reiki Young


37. Improve Everything, Including You!               Presenters: Rev. Gabrielle Fackre Chavez &

                                                                                                           Thomas Chavez


38. Meditation and Principles of the Martial Arts        Presenter:  Rev. Gary Omori, Zen priest


39. Pathways to Your Peak                                    Presenters: Christa Wittmier & Michelle Gracia


40. Mindfulness: A Way to Enhance Awareness and Reduce Stress   Presenter: Gregory Pai, Ph.D


41. Good Soil: Organic Farming, Holistic Health & Sustainable Communities Presenter:  Mark Hamamoto

42. Blue Zones Project                                         Presenter:  Molly Mamaril & Pono Shim

43. 21st Medicine                                              Presenter:  Norman Oshiro & MOA volunteers

44. Acupuncturists Without Borders Clinic                Presenter:  Corey Wong, Asian Horizons, LLC

45. Tao Calligraphy and Meditative Movement         Presenter:  Diane Fujio & Orlena Wong

46. Centering Prayer Meditation                             Presenter: Carol Alevizos


The annual Puaka`ana o ka lā award presentation was launched in 2014 to recognize and honor those who have made longstanding and significant contributions toward the promotion of wellness and of the body, mind and spirit to our people and community.

2014 Recipients

Clarence Liu  Mr. Liu is a retired hospice chaplain who served for 18 years as the Director of Patient and Family Services at Hospice Hawai`i. Of his work, Malama Ola, the newsletter of Hospice Hawai`i wrote, “Clarence’s impact on the hundreds of patients and families he has touched will last and continue to blossom.”

Rose Nakamura   In 1989 Ms. Nakamura co-founded Project Dana (Sanskrit for “selfless giving”) as a program to provide volunteer assistance to homebound elderly and disabled persons in order to ensure their independence and dignity. Today, it has grown into a statewide coalition of more than 30 churches with over 750 volunteers.

Mark Kawika Patterson  As warden of the Women’s Community Correctional Center (WCCC), Mr. Patterson recognized that the inmates did not need a place for punishment, as much as they need a place to heal. He thus set to reinvent WCCC as a pu`uhonua -a sanctuary for forgiveness and transformation.


2015 Recipients

Ho`oipo De Cambra  As a member of the Board of the Wai`anae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, Ms. De Cambra, long promoted the over-all wellness of the Leeward Coast’s large population of Hawai`i’s indigenous people.   Her work included the protection of the civil rights of the people and the promotion of the Peace Education Program.

Kalani Brady, M.D.  Dr. Brady has had a longstanding impact in the promotion of wellness in our community from his medical practice at the Lau Ola Clinic in Kaka`ako, serving on the faculty of the UH John A. Burns Medical School and, for the past 18 years, on the weekly program “Ask the Doctor” that airs on KHON TV.

Frances H. Kakugawa  Ms. Kakugawa is an award winning author, poet, educator and inspirational speaker.  She has written and spoken extensively about brining dignity to Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers.  Currently she writes a monthly column in the Hawai`i Herald. Her books include, “I Am Somebody”, “Mosaic Moon”, and “Breaking the Silence”.


2016 Recipients

Sister Maria Rosario Daley  For over 60 years, Sr. Rosario taught at Catholic schools throughout Hawai’i ( Maryknoll, St. Ann’s and St. Anthony’s) and touched countless young lives. Many fondly remember her till this day for the helping them become productive adults. She now considers her primary assignment as praying for our world and the betterment of Hawai`i.


Gregory Pai, Ph.D.   Gregory Pai has practiced meditation since the mid-70’s in several Buddhist traditions and under several notable teachers.  Today, he teaches a widely attended public meditation class at the Broken Ridge Korean Temple.  He has also taught meditation to the mentally disabled at the Hawaii State Hospital, as well as veterans at Tripler Hospital.

Terry Shintani, M.D., J.D.  Dr. Shintani teaches at the UH John A. Burns Medical School and directs its Wellness Center on Complementary and Alternative Medicine. He is perhaps vest known for his promotion of health in the Hawaiian community and for his whole person health programs. He is the author of 12 books on integrative health and wellness.


2017 Recipients

Nancy Aleck   Nancy Aleck has extensive educational and program development work experience with the Hawai`i State Department of Education.  From 2003-2016 she served as Executive Director of Hawai`i’s People Fund.  The Fund identifies and supports with seed grants grassroots organizations whose mission is to promote justice and progressive social change.


John Houk, M.D.  Dr. Houk has been a primary care physician for 37 years in Hawai`i. He also serves as Medical Director of Arcadia and Craigside Retirement Residences and as an Assistant Clinical Professor at the John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawai`i.


David Shoji  Coach Shoji was University of Hawaii’s winningest coach, retiring in 2016 with 1,202 victories, nine NCAA final four berths and four national championships.  He coached 87 All-Americans and inspired hundreds of girls and women to reach their potential and represent Hawai`i proudly.


2018 Recipients


Amy Agbayani  Dr. Agbayani worked for many years as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Diversity at the University of Hawai`i, during which she helped build the Students for Excellence, Equity and Diversity Department and fought for policies that helped underserved and oppressed communities.  


Rev. Dr. Teruo Kawata  Dr. Kawata served with distinction for over 50 years religious communities at home and abroad. From 1980-1990 he served as Conference Minister of the United Church of Christ in Hawai`i. During his tenure he worked tirelessly in strengthening the Hawaiian congregations. He also taught at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley and Silliman University in the Philippines.


Frank DeLima  Frank DeLima is one of Hawai`i’s most popular and beloved comedians. For over 30 years he has been entertaining and brightening the lives of countless local residents and visitors. In 1980, he founded the Frank DeLima Student Enrichment Program that is devoted to helping Hawai`i’s students understand the importance of education. Since its inception, he had made 350 visits to schools throughout our State.

2019 Recipients

Alice K Tucker  Alice Tucker has long been a vital and vibrant presence of aloha and wellness in Hawai`i. She has led and served on various boards, including Pacific Health Ministry (immediate past president), Samaritan Counseling Center (a founder), and the Hawai`i Medical Association(past president).  Our community has been richly blessed by her compassion, wisdom and wit.


Kahu William H. Kaina  Rev. Bill Kaina has been a notable and dedicated healing presence in Hawai`i. He served with distinction as senior pastor of Kawaiahao Church (1984-1997), Kaumakapili Church, Moanalua Community Church and as Coordinator of Hawaiian Churches in the Hawai`i Conference of the United Church of Christ. He has long touched, inspired and empowered the lives of our people and community.


Robin M. Kitsu    Thanks to English teacher, Robin Kitsu, at-risk students at Nanakuli High and Middle School receive a thorough grounding in various forms of the media, including journalism, multi-media application, drama and video production. His students have won State and national awards for their plays, school newspaper and video news programs.  He is truly a shining light in the Leeward Community and hope to countless youth and their families.

© 2016 Sunrise Foundation Hawaii