Medical School Hotline – Mala La‘au Lapa‘au – John A. Burn School of Medicine’s Hawaiian Healing Garden
Kamuela K. Werner, MPH; Winona K. Lee, MD; and Martina Kamaka, MD
Hawaii Journal of Medicine & Public Health
Within the campus of the University of Hawaii’s John A. Burns School of Medicine (UH-JABSOM) and the UH Cancer Center stands the vibrant Mala La‘au Lapa‘au (a garden of Hawaiian healing plants). The Mala La‘au Lapa‘au (Mala) is affectionately named Ka‘ohinani, meaning “gathering beauty” after the Nu‘uanu residence of the late hulu kupuna (beloved elder) and JABSOM Professor Emeritus, Dr. Kekuni Blaisdell. Ka‘ohinani is a living outdoor classroom providing opportunities for JABSOM faculty, staff, and students, community members, and visiting guests to gather in learning Hawaiian ancestral knowledge and practices of traditional healing and well-being. The medical school’s Department of Native Hawaiian Health (DNHH) served as the driving force establishing the Mala in 2005 and continues to take the lead as innovative kahu or stewards of the garden.