Remembering Dr. Joseph Nishimoto

Dr. Joseph Nishimoto, the founding physician of Pali Momi Medical Center known affectionately by many as "Dr. Joe," passed away on Dec. 1, 2023. He was 97 years old.

Dr. Joe, who grew up on a Waialua plantation, made it his mission to serve families in rural areas. Despite offers to join practices in downtown Honolulu after graduating medical school, he became the first physician to open an office in Pearl City and soon had a thriving practice. But he knew he needed to do more.

Establishing a hospital out of town was not a popular idea at the time. State officials voted unanimously against it. But Dr. Joe was determined. In 1983, he and his wife, Maude, helped collect 13,000 signatures on a petition urging state officials to allow the building of a state-of-the-art hospital in Aiea.

“I think the community welcomed me because they needed someone,” Dr. Joe said in a reflection during Pali Momi’s 25th anniversary.

In 1989, his dream came true as Pali Momi Medical Center opened, offering patients lifesaving services just minutes away from home.

Dr. Joe’s dedication continues to inspire many. For decades, employees have been able to further their medical education through a scholarship created by Dr. Joe and Maude. One physician is also honored annually with the Dr. Joseph Nishimoto Distinguished Service Award for their extraordinary dedication to Central and West Oahu.

Dr. Joe’s humble story remains at the heart of the medical center. His legacy lives on through Pali Momi’s great work.

Watch the video to learn more about Dr. Joe's tireless efforts to open the medical center.