Med School/Year Graduated: University of Hawaii, 2001
Years in Practice: 10
When people think about rheumatology, they think about arthritis, but the discipline covers much more than that. How else does it present, particularly in pediatric patients?
Pediatric rheumatic diseases present in a variety of ways, including complaints of joint pain, swelling, fevers, rashes, fatigue and organ-specific problems such as lung and kidney dysfunction. What makes my job both challenging and exhilarating is putting these pieces together to come up with a diagnosis.
There’s been some concern in the media over a shortage of trained rheumatologists. What’s your take on the shortage and what can be done to help attract more to the discipline?
There is a definite shortage of rheumatologists in this country. There are about 5,500 adult rheumatologists and only 300 pediatric rheumatologists in the U.S. Addressing this shortage requires early recruitment of future physicians, student loan repayment plans and other innovative strategies.
How often is arthritis misdiagnosed? What are the “warning signs,” and when should people seek help?
Arthritis in children is commonly misdiagnosed as “growing pains.” Warning signs for kids include joint swelling, limping, morning stiffness and pain. Parents should seek help whenever they feel their child’s symptoms cannot be explained by other obvious answers.
You’re from Hawaii and attended medical school there. Does your name translate to something?
Yes, my full Hawaiian name is Kaleoaloha, which means “The Voice of Love.” Unfortunately, my singing voice does not quite live up to my name.
Best plate lunch in the Valley?
Aloha Kitchen in Mesa. One of the original authentic Hawaiian food places in the Valley.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love spending time with my wife and three kids, especially any chance we get to go to the beach and surf. I also enjoy playing water polo with the Scottsdale Water Polo Club.
“If I wasn’t a doctor, I’d be...”
A chef. I learned to cook from my mom while growing up in Hawaii. To me, there’s nothing better than having friends and family together for a Sunday night barbecue and cooking food from different cultures.