Summit Speaker Biographies

An educational summit hosted by Kokua Mau – Hawaii Hospice and Palliative Care Organization was held on November 10, 2011:

Transformation: Enhancing care; Containing cost; Maximizing satisfaction

All speakers listed in the Kokua Mau Educational Summit Program confirmed their participation. Speaker’s biographies are available.

Jack Ashby
is Director of Provider Research at HMSA.  In this capacity, he conducts research on hospital finances and quality and helps the health plan develop policies for paying hospitals and other providers.  This has included HMSA’s Advanced Hospital Care program, which offers financial incentives to hospitals for improving various aspects of quality, including end of life care.

Jack’s previous positions include Hospital Research Director at the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) in Washington, D.C., Senior Vice President of the District of Columbia Hospital Association, and Assistant Administrator at Presbyterian-University Hospital (Pittsburgh).  He holds a masters of hospital administration degree from the University of Michigan.

Linda Axtell-Thompson, MBA, MA
has over two decades of professional experience in health care public policy, strategic planning, and financial analysis, including 16 years with HMSA (Hawaii Medical Service Association / Blue Cross Blue Shield of Hawaii) and 6 years with Kaiser Permanente (Hawaii and California).  She earned BA in philosophy from University of Hawaii, MBA in nonprofit management from Yale School of Management, MA in bioethics from Medical College of Wisconsin, and is currently enrolled in the bioethics doctorate program at Loyola University Chicago.  Linda is a member of Kokua Mau Board of Directors, Pali Momi Medical Center Bioethics Committee, and University of Hawaii Biomedical Institutional Review Board.  She is also a member of American Society for Bioethics and Humanities, American Society of Law, Medicine and Ethics, and Hawaii Alliance of Nonprofit Organizations.

John T. Berthiaume M.D.  F.A.C.P.
Dr. Berthiaume is the Vice President of HMSA’s Care Management Department as well as the Medical Director for Care Management and Pharmacy Management.  In this capacity he has oversight responsibility for Disease Management, Care Management, Preventive Health and Pharmacy Management programs that encourage physicians, hospitals, and pharmacies to adopt best practices in the delivery of health care services and quality.  He is active in the design and execution of HMSA’s Pay for Performance program for physicians, hospitals, and HMO Health Centers.  He collaborates with many community partners, giving instruction in physician management and program development to achieve system changes that assure HMSA’s members receive high quality, continually improving health care.

Dr. Berthiaume’s focus has been on changing physician behavior through feedback, education, and incentives. 

Prior to coming to HMSA in 1999, Dr. Berthiaume was the Chief Medical Officer of Straub Clinic and Hospital, Inc., multi-subspecialty group practice and vertically integrated system.  

Dr. Berthiaume also practiced for 18 years (1981-1999) as a General Internist in an ambulatory setting.

Daniel Fischberg, MD, PhD
has served as Medical Director for the Pain and Palliative Care Department at The Queen’s Medical Center since 2004.  He is an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Geriatric Medicine at the John A. Burns School of Medicine of the University of Hawaii.  Dr. Fischberg holds board certification in Internal Medicine, Pain Medicine, and Hospice and Palliative Medicine.  Dr. Fischberg’s educational and research interests include:  enhancing education in pain and palliative care for health care professionals, improving access to palliative care for patients at all stages of illness, and advancing evidence-based practice in palliative medicine.  Dr. Fischberg has published and spoken nationally on these topics.  Dr. Fischberg has been recognized for excellence in both teaching and patient care.  He was Hospice Hawaii’s Physician of the Year in 2006 and The Queen’s Medical Center’s Outstanding Physician of the Year in 2007.  He is active in the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and currently serves as Chair of the Academy’s Education and Training Strategic Coordinating Committee.

Brenda S. Ho, RN, MS
graduated from William Jewell College in Missouri in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in nursing.  She received a Masters of Science in Nursing from the University of Hawai‘i, Manoa in 1999. 

In 1990 she joined the staff of Hospice of Hilo as the Assistant Executive Director. In 1991 she was appointed Executive Director, a position she currently holds.  She has led the organization from a small agency serving an annual census of 40 patients in 1990 to a moderate-size organization with an average annual census of 250 patients in 2010. 

Ms. Ho is currently serving as Vice-Chair of the Hawaii Healthcare System Corporation’s East Hawai‘i Regional Board.  In her service to the board, she is a member of the Credential committee, Strategic Planning committee, nominating committee and Chairs the organization’s Quality and Patient Safety Committee.  She also serves on the board of Kokua Mau: the state-wide Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and most recently joined the Hawaii County Mayor’s Healthcare Sustainability Taskforce.

Ms. Ho is a member of the South Hilo Rotary Club, Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry and is a long standing Weinberg Association Fellow graduating from the Weinberg Fellows Program in 1993

Jeannette Koijane, MPH
Jeannette G. Koijane, MPH is the Executive Director of Kokua Mau, Hawaii Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, an organization she has worked with for over 10 years.  She received her graduate degree from the University of Hawaii and her undergraduate degree from Cornell University.  Jeannette worked in HIVAIDS beginning in 1988 in San Francisco, where she was the Director of International Programs for NAMES Project.  She has worked in a variety of research and program positions in the United States and Europe in the field of HIV/AIDS and other health issues.

Jeannette also currently works as a Pacific Cancer Specialist in a joint project between the University of Hawaii Cancer Center and the Pacific Center for Excellence in the Elimination of Disparities, John. A Burns School of Medicine, which helps Pacific Island Jurisdictions to implement their cancer plans.  She serves as a volunteer advisor to Zahana, a participatory rural development project in Madagascar. 

Clarence Liu, MDiv, MA
is a clinically-trained chaplain (Association for Clinical Pastoral Education) for Pacific Health Ministry, currently on contract to Hospice Hawaii as the Director of Patient and Family Services.  His ministry spans 41 years of service to initially to Central Oahu churches, then respectively, as Executive Director of Homeless Aloha, as chaplain to the Hawaii State Hospital, and finally hospice chaplain. 

He was a participant in the Robert Wood Johnson Last Acts Spirituality Committee, a national project focused on improving end-of-life care.  He is a member of the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children Bioethics Committee.  He completed his formal studies in California, earning masters degrees in ministry (MDiv) St. Patrick’s Seminary, Menlo Park and theology (MA) from Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley. 

Locally he is a graduate of the Manoa Forum, a Weinberg Fellow, member of Kokua Mau and sits on the Board of Directors for Responsive Caregivers of Hawaii and Sacred Heart’s Academy.  Today, Clarence and his wife Pat enjoy life in Kailua where he was raised, and now at the beach especially with their grandchildren.

Anna Loengard MD
Dr. Loengard is the Chief Medical Officer for St. Francis HealthCare System and oversees clinical operations for their Hospice, Palliative Care and Home Health services. She attended medical school at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She completed her Internal Medicine residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard University and her Geriatrics Fellowship at the University of Arizona. She is board certified in Internal Medicine, Geriatrics and Hospice and Palliative Medicine.
From 2002-2007, Dr. Loengard was on faculty in Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Mount Sinai created the first department of Geriatrics in the United States and ranks annually in the top programs by US News and World Report. In this role she developed curriculum to teach medical trainees how to care for the frailest elderly.

Prior to coming to Hawaii, Dr. Loengard was the president of Successful Caring Inc. (, a company she founded to help caregivers understand how to get the best care for aging loved ones.

Dr. Loengard has won numerous teaching awards and has been elected to “Best Doctors” since 2005. She is passionate about educating patients, caregivers and physicians about how to manage illness and understand our current health system to optimize care for older patients and those with serious illness.

Hilton R. Raethel, MPH, MHA
Mr. Raethel has over 20 years of experience in the health care industry, twelve years in Southern California and 11 years in Hawaii, with a focus on business development, expected reimbursement, decision support, and payer/provider contracting.  In his position at HMSA, Mr. Raethel is responsible for the Health Services Delivery Division and the Provider Services Department.  He has a Masters in Public Health with an emphasis in healthcare administration, and a Masters in Health Administration with an emphasis in information systems.

He previously served various roles at Hawaii Pacific Health, Straub Clinic and Hospital, Loma Linda University Medical Center and Adventist Health Managed Care.  He has worked with multi-hospital systems and their affiliated primary care and specialty care groups in both Southern California and in Hawaii for 22 years, before transitioning to his current role in February of 2010 as Senior Vice President with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Hawaii.

Rae Seitz, MD
received her palliaive care training at the Harvard School of Medicine Department of Palliative Care in 2001.  She was instrumental in building the award-winning home-based palliative care program and the hospital based palliative care service at Kaiser Permanente Hawaii Region.  She recently joined the HMSA Pay for Quality initiative as a medical director.  Dr. Seitz has lectured and taught extensively in the Pacific and Asia as well as at the John A. Burns School of Medicine Department of Geriatrics and in the Hawaii community at large.  She is a founding board member of Kokua Mau and is the current board secretary.

Emese Somogyi, MD, FAAHPM
Board President, Kokua Mau
Medical Director, Castle Medical Center Palliative Care Program
Associate Medical Director, Hospice Hawaii
Associate Clinical Professor, John. A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii

Dr. Somogyi is one of the early pioneers of palliative care in Hawaii. Her leadership is built on working for many years as an educator and mentor, clinician and researcher. She has a track record of community service and program development.
Emese Somogyi received her MD at the School of Medicine at the University of Zagreb, Croatia. She completed her residency at the State University of New York in Brooklyn and her geriatrics fellowship training at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. She has been on the faculty of George Washington University in Washington DC before she joined the faculty of the John. A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii since 2000. She lives in Kailua, Hawaii with her family.

Mark Yamakawa
is currently Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer for The Queen’s Health Systems and The Queen’s Medical Center.  He joined The Queen’s Medical Center in 1985 and has held various positions throughout the organization.  Mr. Yamakawa earned a BS in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from the University of California at Berkeley and an MBA from the University of Hawaii-Manoa.  His community service includes serving on the Boards of Diagnostic Laboratory Services, CareResource Hawaii, UHA, Child and Family Service, Lanakila Pacific Foundation, and `Iolani School.

Kenneth Zeri, RN, MS
is the President and CPO of Hospice Hawaii.  He has served on the Kokua Mau leadership team since its inception in 1999, and is the founding President of Kokua Mau Board of Directors. He currently serves as Vice President.  Active in shaping public policy to improve access to hospice and palliative care, Mr. Zeri has served on the Government Relations Committee of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii (including chairing the committee) as well as the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization Public Policy Committee.  Mr. Zeri was one of the primary architects in the development of the POLST law which was passed in 2009, and has co-trained leaders on every island. Additionally, Mr. Zeri was in the core development team for the HMSA Quality Outcome: Integrating Values-Based Care Choices Into a Hospital Setting.

Please note: The summit was a green conference. No printed materials will be distributed at the Summit.


Educational Summit Evaluation Results

Special message from Governor Neil Abercrombie

Summit Program

Summit Materials to download (sorry, no longer available)

Summit flyers (please downlaod, print and post)

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