Maui Arts & Entertainment

UH Cancer Center Takes on Leading Role in Disney + Original Series

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The UH Cancer Center. PC: UH News / University of Hawaiʻi.

The University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center will have a leading role in the new Disney+ original series, Doogie Kamealoha, M.D., a reboot of the beloved 90s dramedy Doogie Howser M.D. 

The series, shot and set in Hawaiʻi, has transformed part of the UH Cancer Center into a fictional hospital set. The show began filming on Feb. 1, with a blessing held in Waimānalo, one of several island locations where filming for the show will occur.

“We’re so pleased that the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center and its team are working on this series, showcasing how collaboration of community and production can work together to the benefit of economic recovery, while creating a medical series, which will deliver a new perspective for viewers that embraces our island home,” said Mike McCartney, Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism director. 


Excitement has been building for Doogie Kamealoha, M.D., created and written by Hawaiʻi-born Kourtney Kang and set to release later this year on Disney+.

The new Doogie series will star Peyton Elizabeth Lee as Lahela “Doogie” Kamealoha, the teenage child prodigy doctor; Kathleen Rose Perkins, as Dr. Clara Hannon, the Doogie character’s Irish mother who is an M.D. and chief of staff at the hospital; and Jason Scott Lee as Benny Kamealoha, her father from Hawaiʻi. Lee’s character in the show gives up a financial career on the continent to simplify his life and to spend more time at home in the islands with his three kids.

Maui-born and raised actor, Mapuana Makia has been cast as Noelani in the series. Makia, who also appeared as a nurse in the recent Netflix release ‘Finding ʻOhana,’ plays a resident at the hospital in the upcoming TV series.


Hawai‘i State Film Commissioner Donne Dawson said excitement has been building for the series. “We are so thrilled that the show’s creator and writer, Hawai‘i born Kourtney Kang, is using her love of Hawai‘i, its culture and its people to create a powerful and humorous Hawaiian-infused story with talented multi-cultural characters and a strong female lead.”

The state Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism reports that more film productions are heading to the islands due to the labor union and studios adoption of the extensive protocols required to become a  COVID-19 safe location.

Health experts and industry across the US created ‘The Safe Way Forward’ preliminary plan which was ratified by all parties late summer of 2020, that state officials say has set a ‘gold standard’ in COVID-19 testing and safe working protocols to keep film productions safe in their work environment.


*Supporting information courtesy UH News / University of Hawaiʻi and the state Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism.

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