From left, Nina Beckwith, Leimomi Kanagusuku, Nohea Leatherman-Arkus and Monika Young.
Monika Young receives her kīhei.

Six new kauka ʻopio (young physicians) of Native Hawaiian ancestry recently entered the medical community as graduates of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) Class of 2018.

The emotional ceremony honored JABSOM‘s six newest Native Hawaiian doctors: David Bailey, Nina Beckwith, Leimomi Kanagusuku, Nohea Leatherman-Arkus, Monika Young and former Kahuku Red Raider and New Mexico State football player Quinlinn Adolpho.

The Native Hawaiian Center of Excellence at JABSOM and ʻAhahui o nā Kauka sponsor the annual ceremony, when Native Hawaiian doctors are honored and cloaked with a kīhei, a Hawaiian garment worn over one shoulder. Each kīhei, adorned by using traditional Hawaiian techniques, displays the prints and colors unique to each graduate’s individual journey into medicine.

JABSOM continues to be the nation’s only accredited medical school with a clinical department dedicated to the health of an indigenous people of the U.S.

—By Deborah Manog Dimaya