A Century of Service

(From left) Drs. Elizabeth Kim, Hingson Chun, Jared Oyama, John Mickey and Robert Schulz pose on the grounds of Straub Medical Center on King Street.

Since its formation 100 years ago, Straub Medical Center has played a crucial role in creating a healthier Hawai‘i, thanks to world-class care and state-of-the-art technology.

Straub Medical Center has been quite the hub of medical firsts in the 100 years it’s been in existence. By leading the way in everything from nuclear medicine and interventional radiology to pediatric cardiac ablations and minimally invasive hip and knee joint replacements — not to mention starting the Pacific region’s only multidisciplinary burn treatment center — Straub continues to set the stage for health care advancements across the state.

This notion of innovation is built into Straub’s foundation, which started back in 1921, when Dr. George Straub decided to create a practice of physicians across all specialties, who could work together to better serve patients. Under the moniker “The Clinic,” the group eventually decided to expand to include an in-patient facility, which opened in 1973 as Straub Clinic & Hospital.

Dr. George Straub founded Straub Medical Center in 1921. PHOTO COURTESY HAWAI‘I PACIFIC HEALTH

Then, in 2001, Straub became part of what is now known as Hawai‘i Pacific Health, which also launched with top-notch hospitals Pali Momi Medical Center, Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women & Children and Wilcox Health as part of the group.

“Each had something to bring to the relationship, and each had something to gain from the relationship,” says Ray Vara, CEO of Hawai‘i Pacific Health. “The common element was they believed health care needed to be transformed in Hawai‘i, and the strength of those organizations coming together started the process.”

Straub Medical Center got its start in 1921. PHOTOS COURTESY HAWAI‘I PACIFIC HEALTH

One notable achievement — aside from its stellar advancements in technology — that sets Straub apart from the rest is Hawai‘i Pacific Health’s electronic medical records (EMR). From scheduling appointments to refilling prescriptions and contacting their physicians, the database has been a one-stop-shop for patients. In fact, its forward-thinking EMR earned the network three Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Davies Enterprise Awards of Excellence in 2013, 2016 and 2019.

“We’re the only three-time winner in the nation,” says Vara. “To me, that’s one of the hallmark components that has enabled us to connect with our patients.”

Even vaccinations, he adds, can be scheduled using the EMR patient portal MyChart.

Ray Vara leads Hawai‘i Pacific Health — which includes Straub Medical Center — as CEO.

As Straub celebrates a century of serving Hawai‘i’s people, Vara only sees a bright future ahead. It’s on the tip of the spear in terms of health care reform that focuses on putting patients first, and also is working on the planning phases of a complete redesign of its flagship King Street campus.

“Straub has significant business presence in terms of size and scale, and yet when you walk the halls, it feels intimate, and that’s the charm of Straub,” he says. “You have this world-class care with the greatest tech, and it still has the ability to have a very intimate feel to it. When you align those things, I think that’s what creates such a special experience for people who choose Straub as their home.

“Straub is a very special place,” Vara concludes. “A big part of our population has trusted Straub with their care for a very long time. I believe the loyalty runs deep because of the compassion and professionalism people experience as patients.”

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Dr. Elizabeth Kim
primary care physician, board
certified in family medicine

With a focus on women’s health and preventative care, Dr. Elizabeth Kim has been serving patients at Straub Medical Center since 2012. She is the family medicine section chief for Metro O‘ahu, Hawai‘i Pacific Health Medical Group. Kim attended University of Hawai‘i John A. Burns School of Medicine, where she also completed her residency.

Dr. John Mickey
internal medicine physician
(primary care provider)

Dr. John Mickey has been a legacy provider with Straub since 1979, during a time when primary care took a metaphorical backseat to medical specialties. “That was how medicine was organized in those days,” explains Mickey, who attended

Mokapu Elementary School as a child when his dad was a pilot on active duty. “Primary care has expanded all over the place. Family practice is now a big part of what we do. “We are still evolving our structure to make things more efficient and easier, more unified,” he continues.

“We are all very optimistic about the future of Hawai‘i Pacific Health and Straub. We were able to maintain our identity. Since Straub has such a rich and long history, it’s nice that it’s still honored by the way we’re being organized.”

Dr. Robert Schulz
Straub Burn Center

As the only multidisciplinary burn treatment center in the Pacific, Straub’s facility has expanded to treat thousands of patients since its inception nearly four decades ago. “We now have a process where we can take a small skin graft and break it down into a sprayable skin,” shares Straub Burn Center founder Dr.

Robert Schulz. “We can now dramatically reduce the donor area of where we have to graft patients. We can cover an area about the size of a place mat with about two postage stamp sizes of thin skin epithelial.” Schulz, who joined Straub in 1977, adds that joining the Straub ‘ohana was the best decision he’s made.

“It’s literally the best medical treatment you can get, and I’m very proud of that,” he says.

Dr. Hingson Chun
medical director,
cardiac electrophysiology

Dr. Hingson Chun is one of Straub’s innovative electrophysiologists, and he’s been helping patients navigate rhythm abnormalities in the heart since joining the health care facility in 2003.

“Straub offered me the best of both worlds,” Chun says. “It offers the security and patient population of a larger group, but the freedom to practice almost as if you were a private practitioner.

You can take care of your patients as intensively and personally as you like.”

He touts the ease and beauty of Hawai‘i Pacific Health’s electronic medical records as one of the notable systems that sets Straub and the other hospitals under the health care network’s purview apart from the rest. “It has really helped us be more efficient, thorough and safe,” Chun adds.

Dr. Jared Oyama
interventional cardiologist
medical director,
Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory

Straub has been at the cutting edge of technology for quite some time now, and one area of note is within its full-service cardiology department. “Though all areas within our department provide the latest in techniques and technologies, I am, of course, most excited about what we are able to offer for patients with heart valve abnormalities,” says interventional cardiologist Dr. Jared Oyama.

Basically, cardiac surgeons are able to provide the full spectrum of heart care to the people of Hawai‘i. “For patients who are best served by open-heart surgery, our surgical partners will soon be offering robotic-assisted minimally invasive surgery that can avoid the need to split the breastbone in order to achieve access to the heart,” he adds.