about us




The goal of the Hawaii Pacific Gerontological Society is to enhance the general well-being of older individuals in the State of Hawaii and the Pacific Islands by:


  • Fostering public understanding and continuing education in the field of gerontology;
  • Bringing together all people concerned and interested in the challenges, issues and problems of the older adults as realized in a changing society;
  • Advocating on behalf of older people in Hawaii and the Pacific Islands;
  • Stimulating interest in gerontological research and services;
  • Encouraging professional preparation for gerontological research and services; and
  • Promoting volunteerism in the field of gerontology.




The mission of HPGS is to increase awareness of and interest in the field of gerontology by providing networking and educational opportunities, as well as scholarships, to Hawaii's workforce or other interested parties, in which to support the creation of needed policies and programs that will enhance the quality and age-friendly services to our Kūpuna in Hawaii.






Sherry Goya, Executive Director

Debbie Kim Morikawa, President

Eileen Phillips, Past President

Kathy Wyatt



President-Elect Rick Tabor, Poki`i Balaz, Laurie Adamshick, Secy-Treasurer Cynthia Arnold and Mapuana Taamu


Not pictured:

Humberto Blanco, Kathy Jaycox, Christy Nishita and Sara Lenzer Medeiros




Debbie Kim Morikawa, President


Debbie Kim Morikawa is the owner of GYMGUYZ, an in-home personal training franchise.  Her degree is in occupational therapy and she has spent the majority of her career in the fields of health and human services.  She was the administrator of the first assisted living facility to open in Hawaii and has worked in all areas of long term care.  She served as the Director of Community Services for the City & County of Honolulu under Mayor Mufi Hannemann and was the first lay director for IHS, The Institute for Human Services.  She serves on several non-profit boards and was in the inaugural class of the Pacific Century Fellows Program.  Debbie’s entrance into the franchise world with GYMGUYZ has afforded her the opportunity to combine all of her past experiences and knowledge to help improve the lives of others through fitness and health.

Rick Tabor, President-Elect


Rick Tabor’s background in the mental health field spans back to 1976 when he was a petty officer in charge of Kaneohe Marine Corps’ Mental Health Clinic, while getting his BA in psychology at Chaminade.  He received his masters in counseling psychology from the University of Oregon and worked at the Seattle Mental Health for thirty years before moving to Hawaii, the home of  his wife.  Rick is Generations Magazine’s Community Development Director, working to bring together resources for Hawaii’s kupuna and their families, being an advocate and educator through the Generations radio show podcasts and live webinars, as well as writing a mental health column for the magazine.  As busy as Rick is with Generations and a valued leader with HPGS, he has time to spend quality time with a number of other nonprofits who view his dedication and contribution to be an asset to their organizations too.

Eileen Phillips, Past-President


Eileen is a Registered Nurse having over 25 years of experience in nursing after receiving her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing from Florida State University. While in various management roles at The Queen’s Medical Center, she specialized in Postpartum, Special Care Nursery, and Pediatric Advanced Life Support, and enjoyed teaching families on postpartum care. She is currently the Client Service Director for Attention Plus Care, a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care provider in Hawaii, with a focus on the Medically Fragile population, and advocates for families and individuals needing home health care. She extends her clinical practice volunteering in the community to present outreach for seniors on various topics on aging including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, End of Life Care, Kidney, COPD, Cancer, and other chronic diseases. She is also a Master Trainer for A Matter of Balance, an evidence-based program that uses cognitive-behavioral techniques to reduce the risks for falls in older adults.


Cynthia Arnold, Secretary/Treasurer


Cynthia Arnold is the Vice President of Senior Move Managers and De-Clutter Hawaii. Since 2010, she has helped clients de-clutter and downsize their homes to either move to retirement communities or to age in place. Through her experiences and knowledge, Cynthia has made presentations to over 200 groups, educating them on how to downsize, tips to de-clutter and assisting in the moving transition. While she loves to speak to groups of people, she also loves the one-on-one attention she can give to her clients. Prior to this, she worked as the Marketing & Fundraising Manager with the American Diabetes Association, Hawaii Chapter, and as a Catering Manager with the Ala Moana Hotel. For the last 19 years, Cynthia has coached tennis for St. Andrew's Priory and Sacred Hearts Academy. Cynthia lives in Aiea with her husband Trey and daughter Alexis (6 years old). As a family, they enjoy watching UH baseball, playing softball and tennis and enjoying time with their big Ihara Ohana.


Sherry Goya, Executive Director


After working in the corporate office of the largest real estate company in Hawaii from 1973 to 1990 and coordinating the ERA franchise in Hawaii for three years, Sherry A. Goya, LLC was created in 1993 as a consulting company.  She utilized her experience in administration, organization, human resource, marketing, purchasing, events coordination, and writing to start her company. Since 2010, she has written articles, sold ad space, and coordinated the distribution of Generations Magazine. She is also the Executive Director of two other associations and has well over fifty clients requiring her marketing skills from newsletters, post cards, flyers, personal brochures, bulk mailing, websites, to events planning and fundraising, while owning and running Real Estate Referral Center, Inc. For fun and exercise, Sherry enjoys coaching tennis for St. Andrew’s Priory and Sacred Hearts Academy with her two daughters. She has been married since December 1976; and they also have a son, son-in-law and beautiful granddaughter.



Kathy Wyatt


Kathy Wyatt is is the KIA Conference Co-Chair and Founder/President of Hale Hauʻoli Hawaiʻi, a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote positive aging through community education programs, adult day care options, and caregiver support groups. She is a registered nurse with Master’s degrees in Nursing and Business Administration. She is on the Board of Directors of the Policy Advisory Board for Elderly Affairs, on the board of Hawaii Pacific Gerontology Society, Treasurer of the Hawaii Family Caregiver Coalition, Secretary of the Board of the Caregiver Foundation, on the Board of the National Adult Day Services Association, on the Board of Kokua Council, and she is active in the Kupuna Caucus. In addition, she operates Hale Hauʻoli Hawaiʻi, adult day care center in Aiea in two locations, as well as the Hoaloha Nurse Aide Training program.


Poki`i Balaz


Poki’i Balaz DNP is a family nurse practitioner who aims to serve our kūpuna, those with Alzheimer’s, other related dementias, caregivers, and underserved populations such as Native Hawaiians. Dr. Balaz received her Doctorate in Nursing Practice from the University of Hawai’i at Hilo with her focus on improving financial resources and advocacy for caregivers. Her professional passion stems from her personal experience as a caregiver to her father who is in the end stages of Alzheimer’s disease. She is active in the community as a support group facilitator, ambassador, and state champion for the Alzheimer’s Association Aloha Chapter, induction and governance chair for Sigma Theta Tau, supporter of Special Olympics, and co-facilitator of the Savvy Caregiver and Dealing with Dementia Programs. She is also Regional Trainer for the National Task Group, Dementia Friends, and a Positive Approach to Care Champion. Dr. Balaz also enjoys traveling, outdoor activities, and has special interested in Brain Health and Wellness.


Laurie T.S. Adamshick, Esq.


Laurie is an elder law attorney and partner in the specialized Life Care Planning law firm of Rulon & Adamshick located in Honolulu. She discovered her passion for elder law as the result of her experience over several years as the primary caregiver and advocate for her late parents. Her law practice

focuses on comprehensive Life Care Planning to help older adults navigate the long-term care maze, and address the legal and myriad other issues that families are often faced with as a loved one declines. Laurie is a Veterans Administration accredited attorney and a member of ElderCounsel, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the Hawaii Estate Planning Council and the Elder Law Section of the Hawaii State Bar Association. She is a past Director of Hawaii Women Lawyers.


Humberto Blanco, MA, Director


Humberto has worked as a program director and project organizer for both organizations and private businesses since coming to Hawaii. He currently works as the Program Specialist for the Kauai offi ce of the Alzheimer’s Association Aloha Chapter. He also worked as a consultant for a Panamanian retreat center. He provides consulting services for individuals and businesses. His skills include program development, counseling, management and group facilitation.



Kathy Jaycox, Director


Kathy has made a career of building bridges. During her 41 years as an educator, this Chicago native -- a Kailua resident since 1992 -- developed many coalitions across institutional boundaries. Originally an English teacher, she moved into higher ed administration in

1980. She worked for the UH System from 1993 until her retirement in 2010, where her major bridge-building effort was the establishment of the P-20 Initiative, which united early childhood ed, K-12 and higher ed, both public and private, in an effort to improve overall education outcomes in the state. In retirement, she continues to be an organizational bridge builder. As the Oahu president of FACE, Faith

Action for Community Equity, she works with a coalition of 23 organizations to address issues of social justice. She is also an active volunteer with AARP. Getting FACE and AARP to work together on the Kupuna Caregivers bill was the highlight of her 2017 efforts. Kathy also serves on the board of the Honolulu Catholic Campaign for Human Development.


Christy Nishita, Director


Christy Nishita, Ph.D. is an Associate Specialist at the University of Hawaii Center on Aging and Center on Disability Studies. She received her Ph.D. in Gerontology from the University of Southern California. Her focus is on improving community-based long-term care, with publications on aging in place, nursing home transitions, intergenerational programming, and health promotion. She is the consultant for the Mayor’s Age-Friendly Honolulu Initiative, fostering community intergenerational partnerships and conducting the evaluation. Dr. Nishita is also Principal Investigator for Hawaii's Alzheimer's Disease Initiative, a 3-year grant from the Federal Administration for Community Living. She is also evaluator for the Hawaii Going Home Plus project, a federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services grant. She is the recipient of the 2016 Na Lima Kokua Award in the Research/Teaching category, given by the Hawaii Pacific Gerontological Society. She is also Co-Coordinator for the Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, From the Field section as well as member of the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education’s Intergenerational Learning and Research Committee.

Sara Lenzer Medeiros


Sara Lenzer Medeiros is a Retired Hawaii public school teacher of 25+ years. She has lived in Hawaii for over 50 years.  She holds a Masters of Education, from the University of Connecticut, a Bachelors of Education from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and Highly Qualified teaching certificate from the Hawaii State Department  of Education. She grew up in Kailua on Oahu in a Multi-generational household, and is a Surfrider, having graduated from Kailua High.  She was moved to Hawaii as a child from Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1968. Her father, Dr. Anthony Lenzer, came from the University of Michigan to start the gerontology program at the School of Public Health, University of Hawaii.  Her mother, Joan, was a social worker. Sara has professional experience in many things including television production, and employee corporate communications at Hawaiian Electric Company. She is keenly interested in the lives of our Kūpuna and was volunteering at the Hawaii county senior program until the shut down. Sara lives in Kailua Kona, Hawaii Island with her husband, and a friend. She has two children and six grandchildren.


HPGS 2021 Committee Chairs and Members


Publicity, Newsletter and Editorial - Chair:  Poki'i Balaz

Kathy Jaycox, Rick Tabor


Workforce Development - Chair:   Christy Nishita

Cullen Hayashida, Kathy Jaycox, Sara Medeiros, Humberto Blanco


Membership, Nominations - Chair: Kathy Wyatt

Cynthia Arnold, Poki'i Balaz, Eileen Phillips


Fundraising - Chair:  John A. H. Tomoso

Rick Tabor, Kathy Wyatt, Eileen Phillips, Cynthia Arnold and Sara Lenzer Medeiros


Biennial Conference - Co-Chairs:   Kathy Wyatt, Eileen Phillips

Cynthia Arnold, Poki'i Balaz, Christy Nishita, Rick Tabor, Laurie Adamshick, Kathy Jaycox, Debbie Kim Morikawa, Humberto Blanco


Programs, Webinar - Chair:  Poki'i Balaz

Laurie Adamshick, Kathy Jaycox


NOTE:  The HPGS Chair and HPGS Executive Director are members of all HPGS Committees


Hawaii Pacific Gerontological Society

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Hawaii Pacific Gerontological Society