School of Medicine
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Kekoa Taparra, MD, PhD
Postdoctoral Medical Fellow, Radiation Therapy
Resident in Radiation Oncology - Radiation Therapy
BioAloha, my name is Kekoa and I am an Indigenous Native Hawaiian born and raised in Mililani, Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi. My life's mission is to return home to the islands and provide high-quality cancer care to the communities that raised me. I earned my PhD from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (Cellular and Molecular Medicine) and my MD from Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine (Science of Healthcare Delivery Certification), experiences that have prepared me for my current role as a resident physician and postdoctoral medical fellow in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Stanford Health Care. I am a Masters of Public Health Merit Award scholar at Hawaiʻi Pacific University. I'm proud to be a member of the inaugural cohort of the President Barack Obama Foundation Leaders USA program. I also run a lab with over 20 talented Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander (NHPI) and NHPI-ally scholars across the nation, focusing on unmasking NHPI health disparities that have been overlooked for decades.
My lab specifically focuses on Pacific Islander health disparities, overcoming Indigenous Erasure, resolving structural racism in NHPI data, and sustainable climate-resilient healthcare systems. We use perspectives from the lived experiences of our communities to help guide the most pertinent research questions. For my research, I have been awarded the inaugural 2023 ASCO Dr. Judith and Alan Kaur Endowed Young Investigator Award along with awards from ASH, ASTRO, NMF, and AACR. My work has been published in The Lancet, NEJM, JAMA, JAMA Oncology, JAMA Internal Medicine, JAMA Health Forum, JNCI, and JCO Oncology Practice, among others. I was selected as a 2022-2023 American Society of Clinical Oncology Journals Editorial Fellow and a 2023-2024 Stanford Cancer Institute Fellow.
As an advocate for Pacific Islander health equity, I strive to engage with community partners, federal agencies, and academic research institutions to educate others on the unique health concerns of our population. I've been invited to speak on NHPI health at institutions such as Harvard, MDACC Grand Rounds, UCLA, UCSF, NIH/NCI, FDA, and Papa Ola Lōkahi, among others. I warmly welcome interdisciplinary collaborations that aim to improve the health of our underserved Pacific Islander communities.