Kapiolani CEO Gidget Ruscetta (right end) helps welcome visitors from Japan's Aiwa Hospital to Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children May 21.

Kapiolani Hosts Visitors from Aiwa Hospital During International Educational Tour


Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children welcomed a team from Aiwa Hospital for a three-day educational and cultural visit May 21-23, 2024.

In attendance from Aiwa Hospital were clinicians, nonclinical staff and senior leadership, including the hospital’s CEOs, COO and various directors.

Aiwa Hospital is a highly esteemed maternal hospital in the Saitama region of Japan. The visit was made possible through a collaborative partnership between the two hospitals created to improve quality health care on an international basis.

"We make sure we provide an opportunity for learning for both their clinical team and nonclinical team," said Dr. Kenneth Nakamura, Hawaii Pacific Health Medical Group chief of pediatrics who has been involved with the international collaboration since its inception in 2007.

After being greeted with lei and a Hawaiian oli, the Japan guests were treated to breakfast and a history of Kapiolani's significance in providing maternal care in Hawaii.

Aiwa Hospital clinicians and CEOs tour one of the rooms in Kapiolani's NICU.

Over the next few days, Kapiolani physicians, nurses and other supporting staff led tours across different departments throughout the medical center, including the Family Birth Center, Mother Baby Care Unit, Fetal Diagnostic Center, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit along with the dining room, chapel and gift shop.

Topics discussed included perinatal care and wrap-around services for patients and families, specifically things like baby showers, gender reveals, painless delivery and LBGTQ+ policies.

The Aiwa Hospital team got to go behind the scenes of Kapiolani's dining room.

"In Japan, they tend to only have one child, so some of their initiatives involve services and follow-up to encourage a second child," said Joan Kanemori, Kapiolani chief nurse executive and vice president of patient services.

Another area of great interest was sustainability, to which members from Hawaii Pacific Health's human resources department shared the numerous initiatives currently in motion that create a pipeline for future health care teams and leaders.

To conclude their immersive educational experience, the Aiwa visitors shadowed Kapiolani teams on the maternity floors.

A highlight of the three-day visit was touring Kapiolani's Family Birth Center and Mother Baby Care Unit.

"Thank you very much for the wonderful training. It was very meaningful for me to observe various services, including painless delivery," said Sori Uchida, Aiwa Hospital chief operating officer. "I was very impressed by the kind hospitality of your staff. We look forward to seeing you again. We miss the sound of the waves and the shining sun."

"We are proud to have been able to host the Aiwa team during their time in Hawaii and share the many exciting initiatives we have in place at Kapiolani Medical Center," said Gidget Ruscetta, Kapiolani Chief Operating Officer. "The visit could not have been successful without the support of our Kapiolani team. The Aiwa team truly appreciated our teams' time, knowledge and aloha spirit."

In October 2007, Kapiolani and Aiwa Hospital signed a Memorandum of Understanding for International Sister-Hospital Affiliation Program, establishing a relationship that supported a shared goal to further international professional development.

This visit marked the first between the two hospitals since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.



Published on: May 28, 2024