Katherine Werner, MHA, BSN, joined NHH as Executive Director in June of 2008. Originally from Southern California, Katherine received her master’s degree in health care administration from Georgetown University. She began her career in nursing as an oncology nurse at St. John’s Hospital and Health Center in Santa Monica, California. Later, she worked for many years as a manager of various healthcare organizations. She moved to Washington, D.C., and worked for a national trade association working to change healthcare policy. She has lived in Hawaii since 2006 and enjoys ocean swimming and SCUBA diving.
Colleen Norris, MBA, joined NHH in June of 2007 as our Finance Director. A native of Hilo, Colleen is well-known in the North Hawaii community from her many years working in visible locations such as KTA and Parker School. Colleen received her master’s in business administration in 2006. Colleen handles all of the finance functions for our hospice. Colleen is the mother of four young adults and enjoys hula, needlepoint and singing.
Gayle Hubbard has served NHH since 2007, first as a volunteer and now as our Associate Director of Development. Gayle was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, and she received her bachelor’s degree with distinction from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Gayle has completed coursework at the William S. Richardson School of Law and she holds a certificate in fundraising operations from Rice University. Gayle leads the fundraising and development functions in our office and supports all of our fundraising events.
Renee Gonsalves was born and raised in Kona and graduated from Kealakehe High School. She works part-time in the finance office as our Finance Assistant. Renee’s responsibilities include assisting with patient billing and accounts payable and being a right hand assistant to our finance director. Renee is the mother of four children and likes to do things together with her family including beach days and watching movies.
Sandee Moiha, HA, joined our team as a Front Desk Receptionist in May of 2017 after three years of working for NHH as a Hospice Aide. Sandee spent three years caregiving for her grandfather who died in 2005 on Oahu, then she relocated to Hawaii Island to do the same for her father. Sandee obtained a certified nursing assistant credential and worked at Life Care Center of Kona before joining NHH. She loves teaching volunteers her bedside skills and being able to use her experience as a caregiver for her family to support other families in North Hawaii.
Patient and Family Care Services
John Dawson, MD, serves as our Hospice Medical Director and directs the clinical care of all of our patients in coordination with our patients’ family physicians. This is quite a commitment for the busiest physician in Waimea. Dr. Dawson has a private practice in Internal Medicine in Waimea and has served on the board of trustees of North Hawaii Community Hospital. Dr. Dawson has served as the medical director for NHH since its inception and is always available to our clinical team, night and day.
Debbie Washburn, RN, CHPN, is our Clinical Services Director. Debbie worked at North Hawaii Community Hospital as an ICU nurse before joining NHH in 2008. Debbie also served as the hospice volunteer coordinator before moving into a hospice nursing position. Debbie is nationally certified in hospice and palliative care nursing and also serves on our quality improvement team.
Bobbi Bryant serves as our Volunteer Coordinator. One of the unique attributes of receiving hospice care is being able to receive the services of a volunteer at home. Bobbi coordinates the many services that volunteers provide including respite care for caregivers and alternative healing modalities such as aromatherapy, healing touch, massage, and acupuncture. Bobbi also provides the volunteer training program that is required for all patient care volunteers. In her spare time, Bobbi enjoys ceramic crafts, gardening, and riding motorcycles. She is also studying to be an end-of-life doula.
Denise Reyes joined NHH as a volunteer in November 2009 and has always enjoyed helping in the office and filling in where she could. She joined our hospice staff part-time in July 2011 and trained in information systems and medical records management. In October 2011, she was hired full-time as our Clinical Services Operations Coordinator. Denise keeps the entire team organized and scheduled, and coordinates our interdisciplinary team meetings and our staff’s professional educational programs.
Beverly “Bev” Kypfer joined NHH as Clinical Administrative Assistant in May of 2017. Previously, Bev was a volunteer at NHH and enjoyed filling in at the front desk and helping in the office. Bev has an extensive background as a pastry chef and she worked for Merriman’s restaurant for many years, inventing the famous chocolate purse.
Patient Care Team
Marshall Cacoulidis, HA, was born in Frankfurt, Germany, while his father was serving in the US Army there. His family is originally from Honokaa. He began his caregiving career when he began taking care of his grandfather. He has always enjoyed helping people who needed help. Marshall worked in landscaping and then decided to take the course to become a certified nursing assistant. Marshall was caring for one of our hospice patients as a private home care aide and our hospice team noticed what an incredible caregiver he was. He was asked to become a member of our team as a Hospice Aide in 2014.
Leilani Dumaguin, RN, joined our staff as a Nurse Case Manager after moving to Hawaii Island from Utah. Leilani had gone to nursing school in Scottsdale, Arizona. After graduation, she moved to Provo, Utah, to take a position as a hospice nurse. Leilani became interested in hospice nursing when she was 14 after her 15-year-old brother died. While she was working in Utah, she met Kimo, Kona born and raised, who was in Utah attending college. Kimo wanted to move back home. Leilani is happy to be on the island because her father is from Samoa and always identified himself as “an island boy.” Leilani joined our staff in 2016 as a full-time case manager and after hours nurse. In her spare time, she likes to snorkel and spear fish with her husband.
Reinhard Fritsch, RN, PhD, is originally from Northern California and has been a registered nurse since 1987. Reinhard finally joined our team full-time as a Nurse Case Manager after working for many years on call or as needed when we were busy. Reinhard still lends a hand to Kohala Home Health as an on-call nurse there. Reinhard and his wife, Carol, make their home in Kalopa on the Hamakua Coast where they have miniature ponies, chickens, cats, and a dog.
Kaiki Gunderson, RN, was born on Oahu and moved to Waimea when she was three years old. She wanted to become a veterinarian and completed her bachelor’s degree in animal science at University of Hawaii at Hilo. She worked as a vet tech before moving to New Zealand in 2008, hoping to go to veterinary school there. She moved back to Waimea and went to nursing school at Hawaii Community College. After graduating from nursing school, she worked as a home health nurse for a year before joining our team as a Nurse Case Manager in 2013. Kaiki enjoys being able to give back to the community. When she is not working as a hospice nurse, she volunteers as a board member and dog trainer for Hawaii Fi-Do Service Dogs to assist the growing need on Hawaii Island.
Susan Hildenbrand, RN, joined our team as a Hospice Nurse in 2017 after moving to Hawaii Island from Colorado. Susan graduated from nursing school in Cheyenne, Wyoming, in 1998 and has served as a hospice nurse for two hospices since that time. She brings nearly 20 years of hospice experience to our team. We are especially delighted that she worked in rural areas in the past and that she and her husband are making a home here on Hawaii Island. Susan and her husband share nine children and love to travel.
Nicole Ignacio, CNA, is from Honokaa on Hawaii Island. Nicole attended Honokaa High School and obtained a certified nursing assistant credential in 2010 from Sweetwater Health Education Services in Hilo. Nicole has worked for various agencies providing caregiving and she has worked in the Emergency Room at Hilo Medical Center and at Hale Hoola Hamakua. Nicole joined NHH as a Certified Nurse’s Aide in May of 2017. Nicole has two daughters and a son, and she enjoys baking goodies for the hospice staff.
Megan McCaffrey, MSW, LSW, joined our hospice team as our Medical Social Worker after her retirement from our local hospital where she was a steady presence since 2001. Megan began her career working at Straub Hospital in Honolulu in the early 1970s as a nurse aide. She then continued her education, attaining her master’s degree in social work from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Megan worked at Queen’s Medical Center before moving to Hawaii Island. Megan is a familiar and comforting presence to so many families in our community as a result of her many years at the hospital.
Nina Millar, RN, is a 30+ year resident of Hawaii Island. She became a registered nurse in 1990, after attending the University of Hawaii at Hilo. She is also a midwife, graduating from the Midwifery Program at the Maternity Center in Texas in 1983. Armed with this unusual combination of practices, which includes several years as a home health care nurse, Nina feels lucky to be present at both the beginning and the end of lives here in North Hawaii. Nina is an After-Hours Nurse for NHH.
Monica Newcomb, RN, BS, joined our hospice team as a Nurse Case Manager in August of 2017. Monica moved to Hawaii Island from Poughkeepsie, New York, where she was working for Hudson Valley Hospice. Monica began her career getting a degree in biology from Syracuse University and then attended nursing school. She has worked in several capacities at various hospices for 17 years. She and her husband live in Waikoloa and are HPA parents.
Jennifer Rabalais, RN, joined our team in 2017 as Hospice Nurse and Community Educator. Jennifer is well-known in the community after serving at North Hawaii Community Hospital for more than 15 years. Prior to working at our community hospital, she worked on Oahu for Pharmacare Hawaii, caring for terminally ill patients. Jennifer graduated from nursing school at Our Lady of the Lake School of Nursing in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Jennifer is also certified in infection control and intravenous nursing.
Jennifer Real, MD, visits our hospice patients in their homes to perform medical assessments as needed. Dr. Real was working as a hospitalist at North Hawaii Community Hospital when her sister-in-law, Rachel, joined our team as a hospice nurse. Dr. Real has had a special interest in hospice and was delighted to hear that we often need a physician to do patient assessments in the home. Dr. Real has been working with us since 2015 and she is interested in obtaining certification in palliative care medicine. We love collaborating with Dr. Real and feel lucky to have a physician to do home visits. In her spare time, she enjoys bicycling and organic farming.
Rachel Real, LPN, joined our team as a Hospice Nurse in 2014. Rachel was born in Oregon and raised in San Diego, California. She attended nursing school at Maric College in San Deigo. She was inspired to become a nurse after caring for her grandmother after she became partially paralyzed. Rachel has two young children and loves to volunteer at community events such as the Laupahoehoe Music Festival. She also serves on the board of her children’s school.
Christine Richardson, RN, has served our hospice for many years as an On-Call Nurse, serving patients in North Kohala. She has lived and worked as a registered nurse on Hawaii Island for more than 20 years and was one of two nurses sponsored by NHH to go to Zimbabwe to work with our “sister hospice.”
Inez Schultz, MA, is our Bereavement Coordinator. Inez served as a behavioral specialist for Hawaii schools prior to joining our team. She loves working with young people. She also has experience working with older adults in Washington State and she had a private practice working with retirement communities and assisted living. Inez specializes in expressive arts therapy. Since joining our hospice team in 2014, she has built an amazing program of bereavement support sessions for both hospice patients and families in the community that have been affected by loss. In her leisure time, she loves the ocean and swims along the coastline looking for shells. She has also traveled around the world to exotic places such as Palau, Bali, Turkey, and a Japanese artist’s island.
Bob Schwarzhaupt, MDiv, MEd, serves as our Spiritual Counselor. Bob took leave after 30 years of parish ministry in 2014 to serve our hospice patients and families as a spiritual counselor. Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Bob came to Hawaii in 1969 to attend Chaminade Univeristy on Oahu where he obtained a degree in psychology. Later, he attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa and received a master’s degree in education. From the age of five, Bob had wanted to be a priest and was ordained a Catholic priest in 1986. His initial service was for two parishes on Molokai. Then, he moved to Hawaii Island and served two parishes here, one along the Hamakua Coast and one in Waimea. Bob has many years of experience providing support to folks from all faiths and all cultures and he enjoys expanding his ministry in new directions.