Maui News

Valerie Kato confirmed as deputy director of the Hawaiʻi State Department of Health

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Valerie Kato has been confirmed as deputy director for the Hawaiʻi State Department of Health. She joins Director Kenneth Fink. Courtesy photo

The Hawaiʻi State Senate voted Monday to confirm Valerie Kato as deputy director of the Hawaiʻi State Department of Health. She joins Director Kenneth Fink.

“Val brings knowledge, leadership and energy to DOH, and we are very fortunate to have her on the team,” Dr. Fink said. “Her experience as the supervising deputy attorney general of the Health Division allowed her to engage regularly with DOH staff and leadership across many programs. Her understanding of the department’s operations along with her continuous improvement mindset make her a terrific addition for advancing the department’s mission.”

Kato said she is honored and humbled and thanked the governor and director for the opportunity to serve.


“I am very grateful for the opportunity to work alongside Director Fink and the hardworking staff at the Department of Health to serve the people of Hawaiʻi,” Kato said. “Having worked with DOH through numerous emergencies and challenges in recent years from responding to the COVID pandemic to the Maui wildfires disaster, I am eager to forge a more efficient and less silo-ed administration that moves forward together and supports each other.”

Before she began her career in public health as the supervising deputy attorney general, Health Division, and first deputy attorney general under Attorney General Holly Shikada, Kato was in private practice for 17 years and clerked for Judge Corinne K.A. Watanabe at the Hawaiʻi Intermediate Court of Appeals. Kato earned her juris doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C., and earned her Bachelor’s of Arts degree in English from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

As deputy director of health, Kato will head the DOH administrative offices, which oversee the Administrative Services Office, Health Information Systems Office, Human Resources Office, Office of Health Status Monitoring, Office of Planning, Policy and Program Development, Office of Affirmative Action and the District Health Offices.


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