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Dr. Rachael Keaouhi Aquino

Windward Career and Technical Education Intermediary

As a Native Hawaiian and a proud Kailua High School graduate, Dr. Aquino is passionate about providing educational opportunities for students from the local community and encouraging them to pursue careers that will provide them with a sustainable, living wage. In her role as Principal Officer, Dr. Aquino provides a wealth of knowledge and experience in navigating the intricacies of higher education and the professional skills required to secure employment.

Dr. Aquino began her academic career as a pre-medical student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Soon after graduating, she took a position as a Neuroscience Technician and completed graduate school at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) pursing degrees in Biomedical Sciences and Clinical Research. For her doctoral dissertation, she focused on research targeted toward prevention of Type 2 Diabetes in pre-diabetic adults. Over the years, Dr. Aquino has won numerous awards for her clinical studies, including the Ellen M. Koenig Award in Medicine and the National ARCS Foundation Award.

While Dr. Aquino enjoyed her time as a clinical researcher, her passion has always remained with teaching and mentoring pre-health students. During her academic career, she was a volunteer tutor and mentor for undergraduate, high school and non-traditional students. She was also a graduate course lecturer at John A. Burns School of Medicine teaching an advanced course in ethics and biomedicine.

Previously, Dr. Aquino was the Senior Program Manager for the COPE Health Scholars Program at Adventist Health Castle (formerly, Castle Medical Center). She implemented the Health Scholars Program in April 2018 with nine (9) students and as of October 2020 the program has helped over 180 students move towards their future healthcare profession. At Adventist Health Castle, Dr. Aquino oversaw program operations and trained pre-health professionals to provide meaningful support to staff members throughout various departments of the hospital. To learn more about the work-based learning program that Dr. Aquino built for Adventist Health Castle, please take a look at the following videos.

1. Adventist Health Castle Video 

2. Living 808 Video - COPE Health Scholars Part 1

3. Living 808 Video - COPE Health Scholars Part 2

4. Hawaii News Now Video - COPE Health Scholars

5. KHON2 News Video - Adventist Health Castle 

Currently, Dr. Aquino is the Windward Career and Technical Education (CTE) Intermediary. She supports the Windward Department of Education, specifically the Windward Academy for CTE. She aims to provide a variety of work-based learning opportunities for our K-12 public school students on the Windward side of Oahu (from Kahuku to Waimanalo). Her work was graciously funded by the Harold K. L. Castle Foundation, the Windward Academy for CTE, and Kamehameha Schools. For more information about the grant's mission and goals, please view the flyer here or feel free to contact Dr. Aquino at

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