Victor Yano is good Belau medicine

BS ’74, MD ’78 Mānoa

Victor Yano headshot

Named after one of the first Belauan physicians, who attended his mother in the delivery room, Victor Yano became a physician himself and helped transform medical care in the Pacific Island republic.

After completing post-graduate residency, Yano returned to Koror to practice medicine at his country’s lone hospital

An early patient was a critically injured visitor, who recovered thanks to a neurosurgical procedure Yano helped perform after consulting with a physician at the Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu. The grateful family sent a donation to Koror, which funded neurosurgical equipment for the hospital and sparked Yano’s commitment to improve health care on Belau.

On Thanksgiving Day 1981, the Belau Medical Clinic opened its doors, operating on private funds, including $200,000 raised by the Belau community. Patients soon come from neighboring island countries to be treated by Yano.

In 1995 Yano pushed to establish the Pacific Basin Medical Association, which provides professional development and support to medical practitioners throughout the region. Ten years later, he was appointed to head the Belau Ministry of Health and in 2010, won easy confirmation as minister of state.

For three decades, Yano mentored every local physician now practicing in Belau, so it should be no surprise that one of them, Stevenson J. Kuartei, succeeded Yano as Belau’s minister of health.

Yano was a 2006 recipient of the University of Hawaiʻi Distinguished Alumni Award.

—from East-West Center: Fifty Years, Fifty Stories