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​​​​​University of Hawaii - Manoa Medical Team Bios

The University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine provided a hands-on training for the Hope House caregivers on May 16 through 20. The lead trainer Dr. Fernandes was accompanied by Dr. Nafanua Braginsky, Dr. Bretty Flynn, Dr. Lam Nguyen and Dr. Shellie Williams. This training session was special as it provided an opportunity for project participants to fully engage in a one week hands on and classroom instruction. The following their bio information.




​​Dr. Ritabelle Fernandes is Associate Professor at the Department of Geriatric Medicine, University of Hawaii. She has been a geriatrician at Kokua Kalihi Valley, a federally qualified health center serving low-income Samoans for past 14 years. She has partnered with the Ministries of Health and Community Colleges in the US Affiliated Pacific Islands to develop curriculums and conduct trainings on family caregiving, patient navigation, and home health leading to improved healthcare of the elderly and homebound.


Dr. Bret Flynn  is a geriatric physician for the Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu Hawaii.  He runs a Housecall program that visits frail elderly patients in the home and in care homes.  He is the founding medical director for Bristol Hospice and also Clinical Associate Professor at the Department of Geriatric Medicine, University of Hawaii.  He is board certified in Family Practice, Geriatrics and Hospice and Palliative care. Dr. Flynn is very pleased to return to Samoa where he spent a year teaching Science at St Theresa School in Leone.tients in the home and in care homes.  

​​Dr. Nafanua Patu-Savusa Braginsky was born in Samoa. She moved to Hawaii with her family 30 years ago. She holds all the degrees the School of Nursing at the University of Hawaii at Manoa offers from the baccalaureate to the doctoral level. She has worked as a registered nurse at Queen’s Medical Center for 20 years; and as a Nurse Practitioner at Kalihi Palama Health Center; and a full time Faculty at UH Manoa School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene for 12 years.


Dr. Shellie Williams is a clinical educator at University of Chicago Medical Center.  She teaches and practices Geriatric Medicine and Palliative Care in the hospital, clinic, nursing home and home settings.  Her primary areas of interest include dementia, EOL communication, delirium management and simulation based education. She has been honored with best teacher award, best physician award by numerous community organizations.