Dr. Shane Morita is a “local boy”, born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, the only child of two working class parents. His father, a Japanese, had his own electrical contracting business and his mother, a Korean, first worked at the Hilo Lagoon Hotel until meeting her husband and helping to run the business. Dr. Morita credits his parents for laying the foundation for him in serving others by their active involvement in community events.
When asked about his hobbies, Shane said that he enjoys traveling and date night with his wife Jaimie Tom, an Emergency Medicine physician (Husband bonus points!), as well as fishing with his kids Josiah 11 years old, Elijah 8 years old, & Zechariah 2 years old (more points!) and for himself – circuit training.
Dr. Morita’s professional credentials and responsibilities are many: he obtained his MD, MS, as well as PhD from the University of Hawaii/John A. Burns School of Medicine; he completed his residency at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center/David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and performed fellowships at the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute followed by the Johns Hopkins Hospital/Johns Hopkins University. He was interviewed by CNN’s Pat St. Claire about breakthrough treatments in melanoma. He works as Surgical Oncology Program Director at the Queen’s Medical Center and Faculty for the John A. Burns School of Medicine as well as University of Hawaii Cancer Center. He is also the incoming Chair for the Hawaii Comprehensive Cancer Control Coalition and currently serving on the Board of Directors for the American Cancer Society – Hawaii Pacific.
Shane first became involved with the American Cancer Society in 2004 after he returned to Hawaii when his father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He remembered that foundation of service and spoke about cancer prevention, early detection, and ACS services at community events. After becoming part of the Queen’s Cancer Center in 2008, he continued his involvement with the American Cancer Society as part of the committee for the inaugural Hope Gala in 2013. Shane sees his connection with ACS through both his professional and personal experiences as a surgeon, researcher, and educator to help people stay well, get better, find cures, and fight back. He hopes that through his volunteering with ACS he is able to help others become more engaged in the mission to eliminate cancer as a major health problem, particularly with our neighbor island communities.
He says we all have a role in the fight against cancer and we should always try to make a difference. He feels that each person has gifts and talents that are all important in this fight. He HOPES to continue the legacy of service from his parents and pass it on to his children. He believes that our actions and examples are what make the greatest impression on the next generation.
Finally, Dr. Morita would like to remind us not to overlook the fact that cancer affects more that the patient, it impacts the family and network surrounding that individual. And, leaving us with this quote, “To have humility in victory and grace in defeat.”