The about us page



Laurie Adamshick, President
Kathy Wyatt, Past-President
Cynthia Arnold, Secretary/Treasurer


Poki’i Balaz
Courtney-Paige DiMaggio
Kendi Ho
Hope Levy
Leslie Milligan
Christy Nishita
Kristina Wong


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

Cullen Hayashida, Kendi Ho, Whitney Katsutani

Publicity/Newsletter/Website – Laurie Adamshick, Chair

Courtney DiMaggio

Programs/Webinars – Hope Levy, Chair

Membership/Nominations – Cynthia Arnold, Chair

Kendi Ho

Fundraising – Kathy Wyatt, Chair

Kristina Wong, Cynthia Arnold, Poki’i Balaz, Courtney DiMaggio

2025 HPGS Conference Committee – Co-Chairs: Laurie Adamshick and Poki’i Balaz

Mae Fujii

Bylaws – Poki’i Balaz, Chair

Kathy Wyatt

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


Laurie T.S. Adamshick, Esq., President

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.

Kathy Wyatt, Past-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.

Cynthia Arnold, Secretary/Treasurer

Cynthia Arnold is the owner and publisher of Generations Magazine, a resource magazine for Hawaii’s kupuna.  Along with Generations Magazine, she owns a consulting company that helps clients with the many aspects of moving, downsizing, aging in place, and organizing, while working with Let’s Move, LLC.  For twelve years, she helped create and manage Senior Move Managers and De-Clutter Hawaii.  Prior to that, Cynthia was the Marketing & Fundraising Manager with the American Diabetes Association, Hawaii Chapter, and was the Catering Manager at 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, pickleball and tennis, while enjoying time with her big Ihara ohana.  She is also very involved with her daughter’s school programs, Nishihara Chojin Kai Okinawan Club and softball team, while being on her townhouse association’s AOAO and on the Kakaako Improvement Association’s Invitational Golf Tournament committee.

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

Dr. Poki`i Balaz has devoted her career to senior health with an emphasis on memory care, brain health, caregivers, and advocacy for underserved populations.  As a Native Hawaiian, geriatric nurse practitioner at Kokua Kalihi Valley and caregiver for her father who has Alzheimer’s Disease, Dr. Balaz has seen firsthand how cultural values motivate the surrounding community to participate in a continuum of care.  She is a board member of the Alzheimer’s Association, recipient of the Alzheimer Association’s Advocate of the Year Award, Pacific Business News 40 under 40, Hawaii Business Magazine 20 for the next 20, and Certificate of Honor from the Hawaii State Legislature.  Dr. Balaz is a double board-certified family nurse practitioner with a Doctorate in Nursing Practice from the University of Hawaii at Hilo, an Executive Master of Business Administration from Shidler College of Business at the University of Hawaii and recently completed the Obama Foundation Scholars Program.

Courtney-Paige DiMaggio, Director

Courtney-Paige DiMaggio was born and raised on the beautiful island of Moloka’i, She graduated in 1997 from Moloka’i High & Intermediate School. After graduating from high school, Courtney earned her Associates Degree in Nursing from Maui Community College in 2003 and obtained her Bachelors Degree in Nursing from University of Phoenix in 2012.  She is a Native Hawaiian Registered Nurse at the Moloka’i Department of Health Public Health Nursing and a clinical lab instructor for the CNA class at University of Hawaii Maui College-Molokai Campus. Courtney has over 20 years of nursing experience helping those in need and is currently focused on finding options in providing care for the kupuna on Moloka’i and helping to find ways to “grow” a Moloka’i healthcare workforce.  When not at work, Courtney enjoys traveling with her husband and three children. She also enjoys and cherishes spending time with her parents and extended family.

Kendi Ho, Director

Kendi Ho recently completed her doctoral research at the University of Hawai‘i in Second Language Studies in the Spring of 2023. Her mixed methods research focused on perceptions of (un)successful cross-cultural interpersonal communication in home care with older adults from stakeholders’ perspectives. She continues to advocate to develop the geriatric workforce through language use in home care for older adults in the continuum of care.  In addition, Kendi collaborated with the Hawai‘i State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to submit a federal grant to use the Kupuna Education Center and McKinley Community School for Adults to build a career ladder in nursing. Most recently, she worked with the University of Hawai‘i’s Curriculum Research Development Group on the statewide Comprehensive Needs Assessment for Career Technical Education programs (i.e., high school and community college level).  Kendi currently uses her applied linguistics and cross-cultural experience with multilingual adults in the workplace for program evaluation with a local firm, Sara Bolduc Planning and Evaluation.

Hope Levy, Director

Hope Levy is a gerontologist and educator. She’s the founder of There’s Always Hope Consulting as well as a Health Educator at Kaiser Permanente. She facilitates classes for individuals and provides customized professional development programs for staff. The common thread throughout Hope’s career has been her professional and personal passion for lifelong learning and positive aging. Hope holds an MA in Gerontology and an MA in Special Education from San Francisco State University. Her community involvement includes being on the Board of HPGS, and volunteering at American Bone Health and the Hawaii Stroke Coalition.

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.

Kristina Wong, President-Elect

Kristina Wong has worked in the medical field since 2005. As the Care Manager at ALTRES Home Care, she manages all aspects of home care service and develops tailored care plans based on the individual needs of each client and their family. She continually strives for excellence and takes pride in knowing that the level of coordinated care provided to her clients is second to none. Having worked as a Certified Nurse Aide early in her career, Kristina is also passionate about advocating for caregivers and the increased demands and difficulties they face. As a Personnel Manager for ALTRES Medical, Kristina is also experienced in working closely with hospital administration, facilities, and infectious disease offices. She credits her strong connection with kūpuna to her unique upbringing, as she had the good fortune of being raised by her parents, grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother.