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Martha Smith / 1957-2021: Hawaii Pacific Health executive spearheaded Diamond Head Tower

  • HAWAII PACIFIC HEALTH
                                Martha Smith

    HAWAII PACIFIC HEALTH

    Martha Smith

Martha Smith enjoyed a career at Hawaii Pacific Health that lasted more than 30 years, and most recently served as the health care system’s executive vice president of Oahu operations and chief executive officer of Ka­piolani Medical Center for Women &Children, Pali Momi Medical Center and Straub Medical Center.

Smith, 63, died Wednesday of an undisclosed illness, HPH said Thursday.

HPH singled out her role in developing the Diamond Head Tower at the Kapiolani center as one of her most significant accomplishments with the health care system, saying, “It was her vision to create the preeminent health care center for women and children in Hawaii and the Pacific, and to build a space that supported family-centered care for patients, families and staff. It will be part of Smith’s considerable legacy here.”

Art Gladstone, HPH’s executive vice president and chief strategy officer, will assume the role of interim CEO for Kapiolani, Straub and Pali Momi. He previously had served as CEO of Straub and Pali Momi.

Smith’s leadership roles go back as far as 1986, when she first joined Kapiolani Medical Center for Women &Children as director of respiratory care. In 2004 she was named chief operating officer of the center, and in 2013 was named the center’s CEO. She added the CEO titles of Pali Momi and Straub in January 2020.

She held her latest role “with immense pride and dedication,” HPH said in an announcement.

“This is a tremendous loss for the community and for all of us here at Hawaii Pacific Health,” Ray Vara, HPH’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “Many of us have known and worked closely with Martha over her 30-year career with our organization. Her business acumen as well as her sense of caring for the community was always at the forefront of everything she did. Hawaii has lost one of its finest health care leaders.”

Smith had a “drive and determination not often found in others,” HPH said in the announcement, adding that “she worked hard and tirelessly, and expected the same from those around her. At the same time, she was extremely thoughtful and caring, wanting the best for our patients.”

Smith also served on many local boards, including Child and Family Service, Hoola na Pua, the Girl Scouts of Hawaii and the Chaminade University Board of Regents.

She held a Bachelor of Science in respiratory therapy from the University of Central Florida, a Master of Public Health from the University of Alabama-Birmingham and a Master of Business Administration from Chaminade University in Honolulu. She was also a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Smith is survived by husband Tony, son Ian, two grandsons and numerous other family members.

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