Kelly Y. Kawaoka, MD
I speak: English, Japanese, Spanish
My gender: Female
Where I practice
I was born in Frederick, Maryland, and lived briefly in Southern California before moving to Hawaii at age eight. Both of my parents were from Hawaii and wanted to return home to raise my brother and me. I graduated from Iolani School, earned my medical degree at the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine, and did my residency in California. My long-term plan has always been to return to Hawaii to live and work.
About my practice
I was born with microtia of the right ear and underwent a series of four reconstructive surgeries. This transformative experience inspired me to explore medicine as a career. I love being able to see kids and adults and treat the whole person. I am a big believer in preventive care, wellness, and helping people thrive. I feel it is important to treat members as a whole rather than the sum of multiple parts, and to consider their environment and community as a factor in health and illness. I like to know my patients’ hobbies, hopes, and dreams for the future and how these can play a role in their health. Some of my favorite interactions are with parents and their newborn children. I feel proud when members meet their health goals because of positive changes they have made in their lifestyles, such as stopping smoking, having a more positive attitude, and achieving better control of diabetes or blood pressure.
How I thrive
My husband and I try to exercise regularly, be it at the gym or by going for walks around our neighborhood. One of my goals is to be near the ocean at least once a month, as I find this helps lessen mental stress and promotes a sense of well-being. I like to spend time with family and friends. I also volunteer as an alumnus with the George B. Carter Serteens Club of Hawaii, which provides teens with opportunities for personal growth, service to the community and leadership building.