2015 Charles S. Judd Jr. ’38 Humanitarian Awardee
By Scott Osborn ’94
Dr. Charman Akina ’50 knew from an early age that he wanted to become a doctor. He began his education at Punahou in the eighth grade. “I didn't realize it at the time, but my time at Punahou was a crucial step in my preparation for college and, ultimately, medical school.”
After graduating from Punahou, Akina went on to attend Stanford University. “It was a natural next step,” he recalls. “In retrospect, it was an easy transition because of the excellent education we received at Punahou.”
Akina remained at Stanford for medical school and he soon discovered an affinity for taking care of patients – an affinity that sprouted from his passion for orchids while a student at Punahou. “I enjoyed taking care of plants and it was a natural thing to take care of people.”
Upon graduating from medical school, Akina moved across the country to intern at King’s County Hospital in Brooklyn, New York. After that he continued his training at the Long Beach Veterans Affairs Hospital in California.
He eventually moved back to Hawai‘i and worked at The Queen’s Medical Center before moving on to The Honolulu Medical Group. It was there that Akina became acquainted with Charles S. Judd Jr. ’38, who at that time was an accomplished surgeon. They developed a close professional friendship and mutual respect for each other.
After retiring from The Honolulu Medical Group, Akina became the medical director at Waimanalo Health Center. While there he focused his efforts on educating the community about the prevention of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension. He also advised in efforts to introduce the Read Aloud America program to the elementary school in Waimanalo.
He is involved with a number of organizations on O‘ahu, including the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Geist Foundation, Friends of ‘Iolani Palace and Bishop Museum. He is a board member of Read Aloud America and has donated land in Kona to the Nature Conservancy.
This year marks his 65th Class Reunion, and Akina spent the past 10 months serving on his Reunion committee. He remains very close with his classmates, many of whom have been meeting for lunch on a monthly basis for years.
For Akina, receiving the Charles S. Judd Jr. ’38 Humanitarian Award carries special meaning. Despite all of his success, he never imagined he would receive an award named after his former friend and colleague. “When I was told that I was receiving this award it was a very emotional moment for me,” said Akina. “I can envision him clearly and I still respect him very much.”