Longtime Native Hawaii sovereignty and health advocate Dr. Richard Kekuni Akana Blaisdell, has died, according to the UH School of Medicine.
Blaisdell, 90, helped found the University of Hawaii School of Medicine and was the inaugural chairman of the then-Department of Medicine at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 1966.
He was a staunch advocate “for accessible and culturally appropriate healthcare for native Hawaiians. He provided dramatic documentation of worsening Kanaka Maoli health conditions,” the school said in a news release announcing his death.
Blaisdell focused his research on the well-being of Native Hawaiians and authored a critical health report for the congressional Native Hawaiians Study Commission in 1983, as well as a report identifying the health needs of Native Hawaiians in 1985.