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The Hawaii Business 20 for the Next 20

(page 20 of 21)

    Photo: Courtesy of Raymond Vara, Jr.

Raymond Vara, Jr., age 41

Executive VP and CEO of operations, Hawaii Pacific Health

On any given day, Raymond Vara, Jr., is responsible for 5,300 patients and 4,645 doctors, nurses and other health professionals in four major hospitals and a series of clinics.

As a member of local and national medical boards, he’s helping guide policy changes and the future of medical care as it undergoes major transformations.

“We’re the largest provider of healthcare in Hawaii,” says Vara. “All the regulatory reform will affect us greatly and we’re in a position to be one of the leaders.”

Dr. Virginia Pressler, also an executive VP at Hawaii Pacific Health, calls him “a major force in shaping the future of healthcare in Hawaii.”

Vara is a board member of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii, advocating for providers and ensuring high quality as the state’s healthcare law is meshed with the new national law. He also serves on the policy board of the American Hospital Association, and as chair of a regional board for the American Heart Association.

Vara understands healthcare from the inside out: When he was 15, his father died of a heart attack; seven years ago, his 2-year-old daughter was saved by doctors at Kapiolani Medical Center after almost drowning.

“I think that has made me better at what I do,” he says. “I experience healthcare in real time as my daughter needs therapy several times a week. And my wife is never shy about telling me where we hit the mark and where we fall short. We use that to improve.”

Vara’s personal experience has driven home what it means to people when they interact with medical professionals.

“Every time they come visit us, it’s a significant emotional event for them. For our patients, it’s never just another day at work. … I remind our employees it’s their responsibility to ease those fears, calm those anxieties and answer those questions.”


1. Randy Baldemor
2. James Bennett
3. Kalei Cadinha-Puaa
4. Kainoa Daines
5. Matthew Delaney
6. Mark Duda
7. Charles Hew-Len
8. Michael Kaleikini
9. Daniel Leuck
10. Jennifer Li Dotson
11. Bryan Luke
12. Wesley Machida
13. Makani Maeva
14. Cameron Nekota
15. Robert Piper
16. Carol Reimann
17. Claire Sullivan
18. Michael Tresler
19. Raymond Vara, Jr.
20. Aulani Wilhelm


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