Kaiser Permanente on Maui Volunteers for MLK Day

January 18, 2016, 2:18 PM HST · Updated January 18, 2:18 PM
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 David Ulin, MD, Physician in Charge of Kaiser Permanente Maui clinics helps prepare taro planting beds at Maui Nui Botanical Gardens. Courtesy photo: Kaiser Permanente.

David Ulin, MD, Physician in Charge of Kaiser Permanente Maui clinics helps prepare taro planting beds at Maui Nui Botanical Gardens. Courtesy photo: Kaiser Permanente.

Kaiser Permanente physicians and staff on Maui continued an 11-year tradition of giving back on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

More than 200 volunteers participated in the Kaiser Permanente Hawaii Annual Day of Service held at the Maui Nui Botanical Gardens in Central Maui.

“We’re excited to continue our annual tradition of hosting a day of service on Maui for Kaiser Permanente Hawaii physicians, staff, their family and our friends in the community,” said Geoffrey Sewell, MD, president and executive medical director of Hawaiʻi Permanente Medical Group.

“The Maui Nui Botanical Gardens serve an important role in helping to preserve native plants and Hawaiian plant varieties as well as educate the community about important cultural practices,” said Sewell.

Young volunteers plant kalo during Kaiser Permanente's Annual Day of Service on Maui. Photo credit: Kaiser Permanente.

Young volunteers plant kalo during Kaiser Permanente’s Annual Day of Service on Maui. Photo credit: Kaiser Permanente.

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“We’re happy to be rolling up our sleeves and volunteering in the Maui community today,” said Mary Ann Barnes, RN, president of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals Hawaiʻi Region, as she and Dr. Sewell volunteered alongside Kaiser Permanente employees from Maui.

“Our annual day of service is an important tradition that we look forward to continuing every year, especially when it allows us to give back to our neighbor island communities,” said Barnes.

Volunteers contributed to several improvements at the gardens including three projects to grow and display Hawaiian varieties of taro, sugarcane, and sweet potato. Participants also helped to prepare plant materials used to create cultural education tools for school visits.

“At Maui Nui Botanical Gardens, we are proud to carry on a legacy and support projects to prevent the extinction of Hawaii’s native and canoe plants,” said Tamara Sherrill, executive director of Maui Nui Botanical Gardens.

Today’s volunteer project was part of a larger community service effort by more than 1,300 Kaiser Permanente physicians, staff, families and community organizations statewide, with additional service projects taking place simultaneously on Hawaiʻi Island and Oʻahu.

The Hawaiʻi volunteers joined thousands of Kaiser Permanente employees nationally, who participated in a “day on, not a day off,” volunteering their time to honor Dr. King’s legacy of service.

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