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NATIVE HAWAIIAN, LIFELONG ADVOCATE OF NATIVE HAWAIIAN CAUSES
by John Charlton
(Sept. 29, 2009) — Dr. Chiyome Leinaala Fukino was born in Halihi, Hawaii, the daughter of a native Hawaiian mother and a Japanese father. She was the second oldest of eight siblings in a family of little means, but which, in the Japanese tradition, prized education.
Trailblazer and Doctor
She went to Brandeis University and graduated in 1972 with a B.A. in Psychology. After returning to Hawaii she spent a year working in speech pathology and audiology.
Then, through the advice of a friend of her father, who was the Dean at the local medical school, she applied and was accepted, with the help of a scholarship aimed at native Hawaiian women who wanted to enter medicine; she was also assisted by her membership in Imi Ho’ola (“Those who seek to heal”), a support organization for financially disadvantaged medical students.
She graduated with a degree in medicine from the University of Hawaii’s John Burns Medical School in 1979, and also completed the Imi Ho’ola Program there, which is geared to preparing medical professionals from historically disadvantaged backgrounds to reach their full potential.
She first practiced medicine as a physician at the Fronk Clinic, 1982-1985, and then in 1985 entered private practice, specializing in internal medicine. Her professional experience then expanded to include: Contract Consultant with Kahi Mohalu, 1988-1992; Medical Director, Queen’s Physician Group, 1996-1999; and Part-Time Medical Staff, Leahi Hospital, 1992-2002.
Acclaimed Director of Health
In 2002, she was recommended by Dr. Philip Hellreich, former president of the Hawaii Medical Association, for the position of Director of the Department of Health, in the administration of Governor Linda Lingle (R).
Governor Linda Lingle who appointed Dr. Fukino is a vocal advocate of the recognition of Native Hawaiians by the Federal government, a political issue at the core of the agenda of the Council for the Advancement of Native Hawaiians, as she stated in her first State of the State Address in 2003.
. . . Washington D.C. where I will meet with members of the Bush Administration and testify before Congress on the reasons why federal recognition of Native Hawaiians is so critically important to all the people of Hawai’i.
She is the first woman and native Hawaiian to be Director of the state Department of Health. Her department budget is nearly one billion dollars. As Director she has made preparedness planning for natural disasters a priority.
Advocate of Native Hawaiian Issues and Causes
Much of Fukino’s professional interest has revolved around native Hawaiian issues, such as AIDS Education Curriculum and Native Hawaiian Health Curriculum for children and parents. She has also studied the role of ancient Hawaiian healing practices and their application to modern medicine.
In 2006 she had her Department collaborate with the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. to push for a change laws regarding the disposal of afterbirths, to accommodate native Hawaiian customs (legisl. initiatives SB 2133 and HB 2057). In that same year on Feb. 21st, she gave $600 to the Republican Party of Hawaii.
Dr. Fukino assisted Native Hawaiians found the non-profit E Ola Mau to improve their access to the health care system, and is the current president of that organization.
Awards and Offices
She has received several awards for her professional achievements and public work; among which are
The first recipient of the Hawai’i Medical Association’s President’s Award, 2005.
The University of Hawaii’s Distinguished Alumni Award, 2009.
She is a board member of the Native Hawaiian Physicians Association, the Queen’s Medical Center (2002-present), and Chair of the Hawaii Medical Association’s Native Hawaiian Health Committee.
She is married to Mr. Harold Cutler, a retired Air Force navigator; they have one child.
Self-Embroiled in Obama Controversy
In 2008, she became nationally famous for her terse statement on Barack Hussein Obama’s “birth certificate”; likewise in July of 2009, she spoke of his “original vital records”; contrary to State law, she seems unwilling and reluctant to release any information regarding her public statements, which has only fueled speculation of her having made some sort of agreement with the Obama administration.
From Dr. Fukino’s biographical information, it is very easy to understand why she may be personally committed to defending the native citizenship status of Barack Hussein Obama, whom many consider to have been a disadvantaged youth, and who as a U.S. Senator advocated Native Hawaiian issues.