DARRAH KAUHANE, MS, CPO
Darrah received her B.S. in Public Health and Community Medicine from the University of Washington. While in Seattle, she was a student leader in the Rabuor Village Project non-profit that focused on holistic care in order to improve health in Kenyan villages. She organized the student-run Al Shifa general medical clinics for homeless and refugee populations in Washington. She was also the youngest member of the University of Washington Medical Center’s Board of Directors. Her first medical mission was in 2007 to the Belize-Guatemala border where the team turned an empty prison into a clinic. She helped screen, triage, and work-up patients from the most modest of villages, as well as conduct a survey of needs in the area.
Darrah received her masters (M.S.) in Developmental and Reproductive Biology while teaching anatomy and physiology courses, and doing transposon research at the Institute for Biogenesis Research at the University of Hawai’i Manoa.
Her passion against cancer led her to the prestigious Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center where she did breast cancer and cortisol correlation research. For the past twelve years, she has also volunteered with her family’s charity of choice, the American Cancer Society. After serving as chairperson of many events, Darrah became the Area Coordinator and Mentor for O’ahu’s Relay For Life, and sat on state and national training councils within the organization.
Darrah was introduced to the field of ophthalmology when she became the Office Manager and Clinical Assistant at a local optometry practice. She became certified in clinical examinations and optometry testing, and was the first person in Hawai’i to be trained in optometric ERG and UBM. She expanded her community vision screening knowledge by working with partners Project Vision Hawai’i. She became a surgical assistant and used this skill to serve on mission trips with the Hawaiian Eye Foundation as a volunteer. Since then, Darrah committed to mission work full-time and has had the privilege of traveling all over the world to serve the underserved through her role as Executive Director (ED) of the Hawaiian Eye Foundation (HEF).
As a Native Hawaiian, her first project as ED was to establish a collaborative program for eye surgery in Hawai’i. “Cataract Days” is a statewide program to serve indigenous peoples, homeless, and families with hardship. Throughout the Pacific island nations, she is determined to break the barriers of isolation through the establishment of sustainable clinics run by HEF-trained locals. She has not only doubled the size of the organization, but has shifted the focus of HEF to capacity-building. She believes that everyone deserves access to quality and compassionate eye care, and the most efficient way to provide that is through the education of local providers to care for their own people. Thus, HEF is committed to longterm training programs that consist of didactic and hands-on transferring of knowledge and techniques. HEF has created a worldwide ‘ohana to service those who would otherwise be unable to obtain vision care.
Darrah was named the 2017 Young Professional of the Year by Pacific Edge Magazine. For more information on this award, click here. She was chosen as the youngest member of Pacific Business New’s esteemed 40 Under 40, class of 2018. Read more about Darrah and her classmates here. In a full-page feature by Pacific Edge Magazine, Darrah is the youngest of the named Hawai’i Healthcare Leaders. Read the 2018 article here.
She is currently pursuing her MPH at the #1 ranked University of California Berkeley. She received the Dean’s Health Equity and Leadership Award in her first semester. She is the Vice President of her Lions Club, International Service Chair of her Rotary Club, and was selected into the Hawai’i Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Mentorship Program.
Darrah’s full LinkedIn profile can be found here.
HEF Founder Dr. John Corboy and
Darrah at her 40 Under 40 Award gala