Rachael Aquino, PhD, MS joined the COPE Health Solutions team as a Senior Program Manager in March 2018. She manages the COPE Health Scholars programs at Adventist Health Castle located in Kailua, Hawaii. As a Native Hawaiian, Dr. Aquino is passionate about providing educational opportunities for students from the local community and encouraging them to pursue careers in health care and medicine. In this role, Dr. Aquino will not only provide an understanding of the cultural nuances of Hawaii’s unique patient population, but also a wealth of knowledge and experience in navigating the intricacies of higher education.
Dr. Aquino began her academic career as a pre-medical student at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa. Soon after graduating, she took a position as a Neuroscience Technician and completed graduate school at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) pursing degrees in Biomedical Sciences and Clinical Research. For her doctoral dissertation, she focused on research targeted toward prevention of Type 2 Diabetes in pre-diabetic adults. Over the years, Dr. Aquino has won numerous awards for her clinical studies, including the Ellen M. Koenig Award in Medicine and the National ARCS Foundation Award.
While Dr. Aquino enjoyed her time as a clinical researcher, her passion has always remained with teaching and mentoring pre-health students. During her academic career, she was a volunteer tutor and mentor for undergraduate, high school and non-traditional students. She was also a graduate course lecturer at John A. Burns School of Medicine teaching an advanced course in ethics and biomedicine.
Dr. Aquino is currently a member of the following committees in the State of Hawaii: (1) Kakoʻo Koʻolau Windward Work-Based Learning Committee – Design Team Member, (2) Healthcare Association of Hawaii’s Healthcare Workforce Initiative – Steering Committee Member, (3) Chamber of Commerce Hawaii and University of Hawaii Systems’ Oahu Healthcare Partnership – Industry Member, (4) Hawaii State Department of Education’s Health Services Pathway Advisory Council Member and (5) Kalāheo High School’s Hawaii P-20 Pathways Grant – Industry Partner.