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Maria Chun


Specialist and Associate Chair
Administration and Finance, Department of Surgery

Maria B.J. Chun, Ph.D. is a Specialist and Associate Chair, Administration and Finance, in the UHM Department of Surgery. In 1996, she obtained her doctoral degree in community and cultural psychology from the UHM’s Department of Psychology. During her graduate studies, she studied factors influencing educational attainment of Asian Americans and issues facing multicultural education. She recently focused her work on cross-cultural health care when she started in her current position in 2006. Her primary research focus has been on the development of a standardized tool to assess the efficacy of cultural competency” or cross-cultural health care training. This includes work on Weissman and Betancourt’s Cross-Cultural Care Survey and the development of a cultural standard patient exam for use as an assessment tool in the department’s general surgery residency program. In addition, Dr. Chun has been involved with coordinating cross-cultural health care activities through the development of a multispecialty and multidisciplinary research group (i.e., Cross-Cultural Health Care Research Collaborative). Another important project she has been overseeing is JABSOM/Department of Surgery’s biennial Cross-Cultural Health Care Conference, which encourages collaboration among multiple disciplines (e.g., medicine, psychology, public health) regarding the broad and complex issue of culture and its role in health care and the healthcare delivery system. Prior to her return to academia, Dr. Chun worked for the legislative and executive branches of state government as a program budget analyst, regulatory reform director, and as a program evaluator/auditor. Her final position with the Legislature was as the Deputy Auditor (Office of the State Auditor). Her past experience allows Dr. Chun to take into consideration the “practical/real world” and “theoretical/academic” perspectives when conducting her research and teaching her students. Her work has been published in healthcare administration journals, such as the Journal of Research Administration, as well as scientific journals including Medical Education, Journal of General Internal Medicine, and Journal of Surgical Education.

Dr. Chun is also a proud graduate of the UHM Honors Program (Spring 1989). Her most favorite pastime — after spending time with her family — is teaching and mentoring students and preparing them to become successful professionals.