Maui Business

Diane Paloma Named Hawaii Dental Service President and Chief Executive Officer

September 27, 2021, 4:48 AM HST
* Updated September 27, 4:50 AM
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Diane Paloma, Ph.D. Courtesy of HDS.

Hawaiʻi Dental Service, the state’s leading dental benefits provider, named Diane Paloma, Ph.D. as its president and chief executive officer, with a tentative start date of Nov. 22, 2021.

Paloma will succeed Mark Yamakawa, current HDS president and chief executive officer, who announced his retirement earlier this year. Yamakawa will assist with ensuring a smooth leadership transition.

Paloma currently is the chief executive officer of King Lunalilo Trust and Home, overseeing the trust and services for kūpuna, including residential care home, respite program, adult daycare and a home meal delivery program. She has served in that role since August of 2017.

“Diane has a reputation of being a passionate advocate for Hawai‘i’s most vulnerable populations, and we’re glad to welcome someone of her caliber to the Hawaiʻi Dental Service leadership team,” Yamakawa said. “Diane’s extensive healthcare leadership experience makes her ideally suited to carry on the mission of HDS to improve oral health and make care more accessible for all Hawai‘i residents.”

“HDS has a long, excellent track record of service of support for the community, and as the company enters its sixtieth year of service, it’s a great time to join HDS. I’m looking forward to being a part of the team to carry on this great tradition,” Paloma said.

Before Lunalilo Home, Paloma served as the director of The Queen’s Health Systems’ Native Hawaiian Health Program for 11 years, from 2006 to 2017, overseeing and leading clinical initiatives, medical research, community outreach and workforce education and development for four hospitals and other subsidiaries.

She also served as director of management affairs of the Department of Native Hawaiian Health at the University of Hawai‘i’s John A. Burns School of Medicine, from 2003 to 2006. As a member of the executive team, she oversaw the administration of federal health disparity research grants. Prior to that, Paloma worked for HMSA for six years, starting as a health educator. She was promoted to coordinator of products and services delivery for ISI Health Enhancement Services, an HMSA subsidiary, where she oversaw a dental benefits and credentialing program, Medicaid benefits call center and business services for medical and dental offices.

The Kamehameha Schools graduate earned a bachelor of science degree in physiological science from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); an MBA with an emphasis in management from the University of Hawai‘i-Mānoa, and a doctorate degree in healthcare administration from Capella University.

Paloma, an ʻĀina Haina resident, was recently selected to serve on the University of Hawai’i Board of Regents and was appointed by Gov. David Ige and confirmed by the state legislature. She serves on the boards of The Salvation Army, Partners in Development Foundation, and Asian & Pacific Islander America Health Forum. Paloma serves as a Bishop Museum Advisory Council member and remains active in the community as a member of the Hawaiian Civic Club of Honolulu; Nā Limahana o Lonopūhā, Native Hawaiian Health Consortium; and Ka Pa Hula O Ka Lei Lehua.

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