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Kazuma Nakagawa, MD, Chief, Queen’s Neuroscience Institute, Named to Modern Healthcare’s Top Diversity Leaders List

Portrait of Dr. Kazuma Nakagawa

HONOLULU – The Queen’s Health System (QHS) is proud to announce that Kazuma Nakagawa, MD, FAAN, FAHA, Chief, Queen’s Neuroscience Institute, QHS, has been named to the 2021 class of Top Diversity Leaders.

The profiles of all the honorees and honored organizations are featured in the September 20 print issue of MH magazine and at

Now an annual recognition program, the Top Diversity Leaders award takes great pride in honoring the top healthcare executives from diverse backgrounds and the organizations influencing the policy and care delivery models across the country. In doing so, they are also highlighting the continued need to nurture diversity in their organizations.

“On behalf of The Queen’s Health System ohana, I congratulate Kaz for this well-deserved national recognition,” said Jill Hoggard Green, PhD, RN, President and CEO of The Queen’s Health System. “He is an exemplary scholar, researcher and outstanding clinician. His numerous contributions to Queen’s and our state have demonstrated innovation and an unwavering focus on our patients on a daily basis. We are grateful to have him on our team and we congratulate him for this tremendous distinction.”

Dr. Nakagawa is a neurologist who specializes in stroke, cerebrovascular disease and neurocritical care. As Chief for the Queen’s Neuroscience Institute at QHS, Dr. Nakagawa oversees all aspects of stroke care, specializing in cerebrovascular disease and neurocritical care. As an accomplished neurointensivist, he provides care for critically ill patients with severe brain injuries.

As the Medical Director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center, he and his team have built and grown a comprehensive stroke program on a national level, an initiative that is positioned to be the fastest acute stroke center in the country. Collectively, they have raised the quality of stroke care throughout our state. As a Co-Director of the Queen’s Neuro-Cardiology Program, he works closely with the Queen’s Interventional Cardiology team to evaluate and treat patients with structural heart disease who are at risk for stroke.

“Healthcare organizations widely promote their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts when they’re first announced. But it’s more important to track success and make sure those initiatives deliver on the long-term results the companies and communities they serve expect. This year, we increased the cadence of our diversity recognition program and expanded eligibility to include companies as a whole, as well as individuals,” said Modern Healthcare editor, Aurora Aguilar. “The 2021 class of Top Diversity Leaders lead the pack in healthcare. These are people and companies that exemplify “walking the walk.” Congratulations to all of our honorees and thank you for the hard work you do on the important issue of inclusivity.”

Dr. Nakagawa has investigated racial-ethnic disparities in risk factors and outcomes in Hawaiʻi stroke patients, particularly among Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders who are having strokes 10 years younger than other racial-ethnic groups.

He also serves on the Hawaiʻi State Stroke Coalition that is working to improve stroke patient care and outcomes statewide. As part of that effort, he serves on the American Heart Association’s Hawaiʻi Division Stroke Communications Plan Task Force which is working to address issues with public response to stroke symptoms. He also participates in the AHA Hawaiʻi Division’s work to reach multicultural audiences with disease prevention education messaging, and supports the AHA’s fund-raising goals by serving as a spokesperson to raise public awareness about the AHA’s vital work to improve cardiovascular health in the community.

In 2019, Dr. Nakagawa received Queen’s Outstanding Physician Award (Hospital Based). He is also an associate professor of medicine at the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine, and was awarded the 2016 Alpha Omega Alpha Volunteer Clinical Faculty Award for excellence in teaching. 

Dr. Nakagawa received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University. He attended medical school at the University of Florida. He completed his neurology training at the Harvard Neurology Residency Program and did his neurocritical care fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco.

“Congratulations to Kaz for his outstanding commitment to our patients,” said Whitney Limm, MD, EVP and Chief Physician Executive, QHS. “His contributions in both the medical and research fields have been second to none, and I am proud to call him a Queen’s teammate.”

Professionally and personally, Dr. Nakagawa is inspired and motivated to make continuous progress toward a better world for current and future generations. Outside of his practice, you can find him surfing and spending time with family at the beach.

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