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Any new news, updates or information about Kaka’ako can be found here


Catch up on what’s happening in Kaka’ako. View our latest monthly newsletter here.

Previous Newsletters photo courtesy of HCDA

Historic Ala Moana Pumping Station

KIA General Membership Meeting

On Wednesday, August 25th, KIA members attended the last General Membership Meeting of the year and found the three speakers to be very informative, knowledgeable, and interesting. This newsletter will give you a little glimpse of their presentations. The entire meeting can be viewed on YouTube at

Dr. Jerris Hedges, Dean of the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) since March 2008, said that the medical school, during the pandemic, has been active in providing community support and continuing its educational and research programs. The administration, staff and faculty members have worked hard to maintain clinic operations for their patients and to support their health system partners and the department of health to help the state deal with some changes in the community related to coronavirus surges.

Over 80% of the JABSOM faculty members have some clinical role in the community.  These faculty members create the clinical learning environment for their learners through partnerships, including a free standing practice called the University Health Partners (connected to the university) and with the community’s major health systems. JABSOM has been proactive in support of the state economy by bringing research dollars to Hawaii; federal grant awards have increased by 50% during the time of Covid-19. The grants have focused on reducing health disparities, work on a heat stable vaccine for Covid-19, and ways to recognize Covid-19 variants in the community.

On the educational front, JABSOM introduced the concept of learning communities. This training modality places students with exemplary clinicians to help further develop soft “doctoring” skills and to provide mutual student support during this stressful time. During Covid-19, part of the learning is in person and some done virtually by Zoom, which has been challenging. JABSOM is also building neighbor island training opportunities and working hard with donors to grow scholarships so that graduates will graduate with minimal education debt, a major impediment to electing future practice in Hawaii.

Also on the link will be Dr. Joe W. Ramos, Interim Director at the UH Cancer Center, who has been in Hawaii at the Cancer Center for just over 17 years. During that time he has worked at a number of different locations, and he said that the Kakaako area is the best. 2013 was the grand opening of the cancer center building in Kaka'ako. During Covid-19 times, more people were writing grants and there were many new ones funded, including a $6.5 million C06 grant for construction which was secured to build the early phase clinical trial center in the Kaka’ako facility. The Hawaii legislature, lead by Senator Breen Harimoto, matched this with another $6.5 million. Construction will be completed at the end of 2023. Dr. Ramos also gave an overview of the work of the Cancer Center. He said that the first line of attack is to prevent cancer, that’s the best case scenario, so we need to know what causes cancer in the Hawaiian islands, as well as the larger catchment of other Pacific islands. So what causes cancer here - that’s what the epidemiology program is all about. An important part of their work is a study called the multi-ethnic cohort which has followed over 200,000 people for the last 27 years in collaboration with USC to assay how their activity, body weight, nutrition, and many other factors relate to their risk of cancers taking into account ethnicity/race and genetics. For those that get cancer Dr. Ramos said there are teams of researchers and physicians at the Cancer Center working to bring in clinical trials to provide new therapeutic options. For cancers for which we still lack good treatments researchers at the center are working to find underlying mechanisms to design new treatments and diagnostics. The UH Cancer Center has been doing this work for 50 years now to serve the people of Hawaii to reduce the burden of cancer in the islands.  KIA members will want to listen to the rest of Dr. Ramos’ presentation.

John Leong, co-founder and CEO of Kupu, a non-profit organization, created to cultivate positive environmental impact by focusing on developing Hawaii’s next generation of environmental stewards and community leaders. For over a decade, they have trained 5,041 young adults and generated more than $150 million in economic impact for the state with a 1-3 cost benefit ratio.  John’s Powerpoint presentation has great information about Kupu and what they have accomplished and continue to work with so many 16-24 year old participants who engage in environmental programs, which can be found at Their Ho`okupu Center serves multiple functions that increases their capacity to serve youth, provides a safe, welcoming space for community get togethers, helps revitalize a community in which we work, and offsets nonprofit expenses with social enterprises. The entire meeting can be viewed on YouTube at

KIA Board Profile

Nicole Nakano is the Regional Account Executive at First Onsite Property Restoration. First Onsite is a national emergency response for water, fire, mold, asbestos, smoke, trauma cleanup and general contractor. Her role is to execute the sales and marketing strategy for First Onsite by identifying and maintaining strategic relationships with customers, vendors, and partners while improving efficiency and customer service. She manages all phases of the business development cycle. Prior to joining First Onsite, Nicole has a background in banking sales and marketing. Nicole graduated from Maryknoll School, received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of San Francisco, and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Hawaii Pacific University. Besides being the Vice President for KIA, she is the President of BOMA Hawaii and a member of other commercial real estate organizations. During her free time, Nicole enjoys spending time with her husband and cat, golfing at Oahu Country Club, traveling (prior to pandemic), streaming and trying new experiences.

KIA Member News

The Honolulu Star Advertiser had a great tabloid titled “The Best of Everything” which listed the best of everything Hawaii has to offer as voted by their readers for 2021.  KIA would like to recognize their members who were acknowledged as being the “best” Finalist or First Place.

Family Dining - Dave & Buster’s Honolulu

Furniture Store - Inspiration Interiors

Jewelry Store - Wedding Ring Shop

Mattress Store - Inspiration Interiors

Bank - Bank of Hawaii (First Place)

Bank - Central Pacific Bank

Bank - First Hawaiian Bank

Health Insurance - Kaiser Permanente

Keiki Party Venue - Dave & Buster’s Honolulu

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DTL is a Hawai‘i based strategy studio that has built a respected reputation within our community as a creative interpreter of culture through planning and design. DTL’s understanding and knowledge of Hawai‘i’s sensibilities and sensitivities has resulted in significant successes in facilitating dialogs, bridging perspectives and developing appropriate collaborative solutions to both challenging issues and exciting opportunities within our community.


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Welcome to KIA


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Honolulu, HI 96813

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