Winona Lee


Assistant Professor,
Department of Native Hawaiian Health,
John A. Burns School of Medicine

Dr. Winona K. Lee in the Department of Native Hawaiian Health at the John A. Burns School of Medicine envisions herself as hale ipukukui or lighthouse, in direct lineage from her great- grandfather 70 years ago, lighthouse keeper at Kalaupapa. Teaching in the Imi Ho`ola program with students from disadvantaged backgrounds, she applies adaptive learning practices, tailoring instruction and curricula to meet students’ individual learning styles based on each student’s foundational knowledge, strengths, individual learning styles, motivations, and challenges. An educational program is developed and further modified as students progress through Imi Ho`ola. This innovative and progressive medical professional curriculum has become a part of the Imu Ho`ola Program curriculum and evaluation since 2007. A senior colleague recognizes the quality and value of her teaching as demonstrated by the dedication of Dr. Lee’s life and her medical practice to teach complex biological concepts and processes to students whose weakest areas prior to ‘Imi Ho`ola were the sciences. The entire `Imi Ho`ola Post- Baccalaureate Class of 2014 has honored Dr. Lee as the cornerstone for their successes in medical school, as a woman and a professional academic who leads by example and service. “Dr. Lee’s kuleana goes beyond fulfilling expectations of her position. From mentoring individual students to facilitating elaborate community partnerships, each action she takes reflects a stake in the advancement of wellness in Hawai`i.” Dr. Lee always has an open-door policy—whether students have questions about the Program, about academic performance, or even personal questions that could benefit from experience and mentorship. Each year Dr. Lee provides her students an exceptional service-learning project by traveling to Kalapapa, a once-in- a-lifetime opportunity that impacts deeply on their future professional work. A graduate assistant credits Dr. Lee for her profound influence in the student’s having the confidence to complete the application to the doctorate program, describing Professor Winona Lee as “a mana wahine, a role model. I dream to emulate her work ethic and ability to balance personal life with rigors and demands of medicine and academia.”

Native Hawaiian Health