Mark Yamakawa, executive vice president and chief operating officer of The Queen’s Health Systems, parent company of The Queen’s Medical Center, has been named president and chief executive officer of Hawaii Dental Service (HDS), the state’s largest dental benefits plan, announced Michael O’Malley, chairman of the HDS board of directors.
Yamakawa will begin in his new role in early November 2014. This will allow for a smooth leadership transition as Faye Kurren, current HDS president and chief executive officer, plans to retire in December 2014 after an11-year tenure with the organization.
“After reviewing a number of applications from both local and national candidates, we are pleased to have found a successor to lead HDS into the future,” O’Malley said. “Under Faye’s leadership, the organization made significant strides forward and has grown to more than 600,000 members. We’re confident Mark will continue the positive momentum as he brings a wealth of healthcare executive experience to HDS.”
Yamakawa, who has been with Queen’s for nearly 30 years, started as a senior management engineer in 1985. He held other leadership roles, including systems development director; planning and management engineering director; vice president – corporate development; and president of Queen Emma Land Company. He was promoted to his current executive leadership role in 2011.
“Oral health is a key part of our overall health and well-being,” Kurren said. “Pediatric oral health care is an essential health benefit under the Affordable Care Act, and HDS is instrumental in ensuring Hawaii’s keiki receive quality dental care on a regular basis, beginning with their first dental exam.”
“I’m attracted to HDS’s mission of providing accessible, affordable dental care for those in our islands,” Yamakawa said. “I’m looking forward to working with the HDS team to continue focusing on this vital role in our community.”