2018 Tillman Scholar

Ka’imi Masunaga

Air Force
Yale University
MPH, Healthcare Management & Infectious Diseases

“The only way to gain true empathy as a leader is to march in everyone’s boots.”

“Service before self,” is an Air Force core value that was programmed into Ka’imi’s mindset from an early age. A lifelong learner, he fulfilled his service commitment in the Health Professions Scholarship Program at USCF and his residency at the VA, and separated from the Air Force to further specialize in infectious diseases and healthcare management.

During his rotations in Emergency Medicine, Ka’imi developed an interest for integrating oral health and medicine. At Yale University, he is now pursuing a Masters in Healthcare Management to develop an integrated approach that better serves rural communities, treating the whole patient while improving access to treatment and care. His ultimate objective is to equalize the level of available medical services regardless of one’s age, class, or place in society.

Ka’imi’s mantra is: family, service, teach and learn. He is motivated to return to his hometown in Hawai’i, where he envisions integrating his clinical training in pediatrics and academic interests in the history of medicine to deliver high quality empathetic patient care to the community. With his international health and military leadership experience, he also hopes to continue his service as a leader in and out of the classroom/OR to shape the future of healthcare.