Maui Business

BREAKING: Hawai‘i Health Director and Public Safety Director to Retire

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Dr. Bruce Anderson. Office of the Governor, State of Hawaiʻi / Hawai’i COVID-19 Joint Information Center

Governor David Ige announced today that state Health Director Dr. Bruce Anderson and Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda will be retiring from their respective posts in September.

“Both directors have served admirably under extremely challenging conditions, especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. I thank them for their many years of service to the people of Hawaiʻi and wish them well as they retire and are able to spend time with their families,” said Gov. Ige.

“It has been an honor and pleasure to serve as Director under Gov. Ige, with Nolan and my other fellow cabinet members. In my retirement, I look forward to doing a lot more fishing and horseback riding with my wife, Debbie,” said Anderson.

Dr. Libby Char

Dr. Libby Char appointed Director, Dept. of Health


Gov. Ige has appointed Dr. Libby Char to serve as interim director of the Department of Health effective Sept. 16. Dr. Anderson’s retirement is effective Sept. 15 after 35 years of experience managing health and environmental programs in Hawaiʻi, including serving as the as director of the department under two governors.

Char is an emergency physician and graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi, John A. Burns School of Medicine. After completing residency training in California, she returned to Hawaiʻi to the clinical practice of emergency medicine at The Queen’s Medical Center. She provided administrative oversight for the City and County of Honolulu EMS system for many years.

Dr. Char currently focuses her efforts on developing systems of care, training, protocols and emergency response utilizing best practices in the pre-hospital environment. She provides medical direction for several EMS, Fire, and Ocean Safety agencies across the state of Hawaiʻi and is the current chair of the State of Hawaiʻi EMS Advisory Committee.

“Dr. Char brings experience in medicine and administration to the department during a time of great stress on the state’s healthcare system. I’m confident that she will step into the role with energy and passion for ensuring the health of Hawaiʻi’s people,” said Gov. Ige.


“I am honored to fill the position of Director of Health for the State of Hawaiʻi. We are in a difficult position, with a heavy burden of COVID-19 affecting the health, well-being and livelihood of so many of us. We must move forward together, through collaborative efforts, caring for each other with a shared sense of purpose. In doing so, we will regain the health of our communities and our state,” said Char.

Her appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.

Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda at the Maui Community Correctional Center following the 2019 riot at the facility. PC: Department of Public Safety.

Public Safety Director Espinda Retires Effective Oct. 1

Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda’s retirement is effective Oct. 1.


Gov. Ige announced that Maria Cook, the deputy director for administration will be temporarily assigned and has been granted signatory authority while Espinda is on personal leave through September.

The deputy directors for law enforcement and corrections will continue in their capacities to oversee their division operations. Dir. Espinda will be available to provide advice remotely in the interim should the need arise.

Gov. Ige will announce an interim appointment to lead the department in the coming weeks.


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