The about us page



The goal of the Hawaii Pacific Gerontological Society is to enhance the general well-being of older individuals in Hawaii 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 older adults as realized in a changing society;
  • Advocating on behalf of older people in Hawaii;
  • 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, and otherwise to support the creation of needed policies and programs that will enhance the quality and number of age-friendly services to our Kūpuna in Hawaii.


Workforce Development – Christy Nishita, Chair

Kathy Jaycox, Sara Medeiros, Cullen Hayashida, Kendi Ho, Whitney Katsutani, Sandra Von Doetinchem

Publicity/Newsletter/Website – Laurie Adamshick, Chair

Kathy Jaycox, Tonya Hammond-Tullis

Programs/Webinars – Rick Tabor, Chair

Christy Nishita, Nena Hart, Tonya Hammond-Tullis, Sandra Von Doetinchem

Membership/Nominations – Cynthia Arnold, Chair

Laurie Adamshick

Fundraising – Kathy Wyatt, Chair

Eileen Phillips, Nena Hart

Biennial Conference – Eileen Phillips and Rick Tabor, Co-Chairs

All HPGS Board members 

Bylaws – Sara Medeiros, Chair

Poki`i Balaz

Note: the HPGS President and Executive Director are members of all committees


Kathy Wyatt, President

Kathy Wyatt is the KIA Conference Co-Chair and Founder/President of Hale Hau’oli 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, 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 and Kokua Council, as well as active in the Kupuna Caucus. In addition, she operates Hale Hau’oli Hawaiʻi, adult day care center in Aiea in two locations, as well as the Hoaloha Nurse Aide Training program.

Laurie T.S. Adamshick, Esq., President-Elect

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 Elder Counsel, 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.

Cynthia Arnold, Secretary/Treasurer

Cynthia Arnold started her own consulting company in 2022, helping clients in many aspects regarding their future plans – from moving, downsizing, aging in place and organizing, and even event/wedding planning.

After 11 years of working with seniors to downsize, declutter and move, she decided to take a step back and spend more time with her husband and daughter Alexis. She is now helping clients to consult on their future; whether to age in place or make a move and where; and by helping with resources and information. Prior to this, she helped create and manage Senior Move Managers and De-Clutter Hawaii for 11 years, she worked as the Marketing & Fundraising Manager with the American Diabetes Association, Hawaii Chapter, and as a Catering Manager with the Ala Moana Hotel. In 2019, she retired after 20 years of coaching tennis for St. Andrew’s Priory and Sacred Hearts Academy. Cynthia lives in Aiea with her husband Trey and daughter Alexis. As a family, they enjoy watching UH baseball, playing softball and tennis and enjoying time with their big Ihara Ohana. Cynthia also very involved in Pearl Ridge Elementary School PTA, Nishihara Chojin Kai Okinawan Club and Softball Team as well as the Kakaako Invitational Golf Tournament.

Sherry Goya, Executive Director

A graduate of Honolulu Business College, Sherry worked in the corporate office of the largest real estate company in Hawaii from 1973 to 1990, then was Vice President of the ERA real estate franchise in Hawaii for three years.  She created Sherry A. Goya, LLC in 1993 as a business consulting company.  Utilizing her experience in administration, organization, human resources, marketing, purchasing, event coordination, and writing to start her company, she currently has over fifty clients requiring her marketing skills from newsletters, post cards, flyers, personal brochures, bulk mailing, websites, fundraising, etc.  Sherry is also the Executive Director of two other associations and owns Real Estate Referral Center, Inc.  For fun and exercise, Sherry enjoyed coaching tennis for St. Andrew’s Priory and Sacred Hearts Academy with her two daughters for twenty years and currently teaches beginning tennis at the Priory.  Married since December 1976, they have three married children, a granddaughter and grandson.

Poki’i Balaz, Director

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.

Eileen Phillips, Director

Eileen attended Florida State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing in 1979 and then moved to Hawaii in 1980 with her family. She continued her education at the University of Hawaii and obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1992. Immediately she was hired at Queens Medical Center and worked in Postpartum and Special Care Nursery and also trained in Pediatric Advanced Life Support. She became a Client Service Supervisor at Attention Plus Care in August of 1999 and began her focus on geriatric care in the community and home care support for families. While at Attention Plus Care, supported contracts with the Department of Health Programs currently under the Med-Quest and Integrated Care Programs, Developmental Disabilities Division, and Veterans Affairs. Eileen became the Director of the Nursing department in 2004 and since then managed operations in both scheduling and client service departments with successful audit performance from the Department of Health and the Joint Commission accrediting organizations. Eileen has provided training in the community on Fall Prevention for our Kupuna population since 2005.

Tonya Hammond-Tullis, Director

Tonya Hammond-Tullis is the Community Engagement Coordinator for Oahu Alzheimer’s Association’s Hawaii chapter. She has over 20 years experience working in the Long Term Care industry. Tonya has her Bachelors in Social work with a minor in Gerontology and Dual Masters of Arts in Counseling and School Counseling. Tonya has been with the Alzheimer’s Association since January 2019. Her greatest joy is to help families find hope through the resources of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Rick Tabor, Director

Rick Tabor has been a LMHC (Licensed Mental Health Counselor) in the state of Washington for thirty years. He is also a certified QMHP (Qualified Mental Health Professional), and a Cognitive Disabilities Specialist. Rick recently retired, but remains active with many kūpuna advocacy nonprofits. In addition to HPGS, these include Hawai’i Meals on Wheels, Rotary Club of Honolulu, Compassion and Choices, Alzheimer’s Association Hawai’i, Long Term Care Ombudsmen Volunteer, Faith Action (FACE) Long Term Care Taskforce & IBASHO Cafè development committee, PABEA (Policy Advisory Board of Elderly Affairs), the Kūpuna Collective, Best Buddies, Club 100 lifelong member (his father-in-law served in the 100 Battalion Company C), Shaka Santa for Palama Settlement & Club 100, and RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) of the Elderly Affairs Division.

Rick’s mission is to promote self-care while enhancing and protecting the civil rights of Hawaii’s aging population through the provision of culturally sensitive advocacy.

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

Dr. Christy Nishita is a gerontologist and Interim Director at the UH Center on Aging with leadership roles on more than 20 federal grants and contracts over the course of her career at UH. She is focused on addressing the rapid aging of Hawai’i’s population and critical gaps in the systems of care that support older adults. She has collaborated to develop, implement, and evaluate innovative programs and systems-level interventions to develop a more coordinated long-term care system. Most recently, she is the co-founder and co-coordinator of the Kūpuna Collective, a collaborative network of more than 150 partners in the aging network who elevate critical issues, mobilize community assets, and drive innovative solutions that support and empower kūpuna in Hawai‘i. Dr. Nishita is also the Principal Investigator of the federally-funded Hawai’i’s Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative which strives to strengthen the dementia-capability of Hawai’i’s communities by expanding person-
centered practices that enable people with dementia and their families greater access to a continuum of long-term services and supports (LTSS) into the future. She is the Coordinator for Age-Friendly Honolulu, an initiative promoting city and community engagement to support active aging, inclusion, and engagement of older adults.

Sara Lenzer Medeiros, Director

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.

Nena Hart, Director

Nena has her Masters in Nursing Administration and is the Founder of Hart Healthcare Solutions, which helps senior care providers take back the operational health of their organization, stop the vicious cycle of agency use and critical staffing, enhance survey outcomes, and ultimately improve patient care and quality of life.   She transforms stagnant operations struggling with staffing and systems into thriving operations with high-performing teams.  Nena has extensive compliance experience and consistently successful outcomes with surveys from various regulatory bodies at providers of different sizes and industries. Empowering other leaders is her passion.  She has been married for 17 years and has 4 amazing children ages 16,12,8,5. Her family lives on Lana’i and her desire is to positively impact the healthcare system to increase the quality of care and life for our seniors while advocating for senior care providers.

Sandra von Doetinchem, Director

Dr. Sandra von Doetinchem is a lifelong learning researcher and higher education leader with extensive experience managing and developing professional and continuing education programs for (older) adult learners. She is an Associate Specialist faculty member at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Outreach College, and previously served as Department Chair of Outreach College’s Continuing and Professional Program department. Before joining the University of Hawaii, Dr. von Doetinchem worked at UC Berkeley’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

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