UH-Maui College facility to be named for Inouye

The Allied Health Center at the University of Hawaii Maui College was one of four University of Hawaii programs or facilities renamed in honor of the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye.

The UH Board of Regents on Feb. 21 approved the naming of the UH-Maui College facility the Daniel K. Inouye

Allied Health Center. The center will primarily support the dental assisting and dental hygiene programs, which are currently off campus.

“Senator Inouye was a champion for nursing, allied health and the well-being of Hawaii residents,” said a news release from the UH system. “His commitment to the Neighbor Islands and particularly to Maui, the home of his mother, continued for years.”

The Inouye center is part of the $4.5 million renovation of the UH-Maui College’s old Noi’i science building. Work is expected to begin on the Noi’i building and Inouye center – which is on the ground floor of the two-story building – in the summer and will include 18 operatories that will serve the dental assisting and dental hygiene programs, which have been accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, said UH-Maui College spokeswoman Nicole Beattie.

The entire renovation of the old science building, which includes redesigning labs into general purpose classrooms upstairs, will complement the activities of the Allied Health program and other campus needs, she said. The renovation is expected to be completed next year.

The dental assisting and hygiene programs grew out of low-income and uninsured community needs for oral care. The program was initiated with part of a grant garnered by Inouye and inspired the participation of the County of Maui; Catholic Charities, which provided a dental van; a dentist who gifted his entire clinic with seven operatories; the clinic’s landlord who voluntarily installed an elevator to allow the Maui Oral Health Center to be accessible to those with disabilities; the Lutheran Medical Center that supports dental residents; Maui dentists who volunteered their services; and the leadership of the college’s nursing department chairperson.

From its beginnings through December, more than 5,000 community clients have been served through more than 66,000 appointments, Beattie said.

The creation of the Inouye center will allow UH-Maui College to bring the Oral Health Center, which is off campus in Wailuku, back to the college, Beattie noted.

The other three facilities to be renamed are the Daniel K. Inouye Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education at UH-Manoa, the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy at UH-Hilo, and the Daniel K. Inouye Electronics Technology Building at Kauai Community College.

“Senator Inouye impacted the University of Hawaii in ways that cannot be measured,” said University of Hawaii President M.R.C. Greenwood. “We are deeply grateful to the senator for his years of support and for all that he has done for us. Today’s board action gives us the opportunity to thank Senator Inouye and to emphasize the many things he helped us accomplish and the many things he has inspired us to accomplish in the future.”