Bio – Chun, Maria


Maria B.J. Chun, Ph.D.


Title:    Specialist and Associate Chair, Administration and Finance
Specialty:    Community and Cultural Psychology

Maria B.J. Chun, Ph.D. is a Specialist and Associate Chair, Administration and Finance, in the UHM Department of Surgery. In 1996, she obtained her doctoral degree in community and cultural psychology from the UHM’s Department of Psychology. During her graduate studies, she studied factors influencing educational attainment of Asian Americans and issues facing multicultural education. She recently focused her work on cross-cultural health care when she started in her current position in 2006. Her primary research focus has been on the development of a standardized tool to assess the efficacy of “cultural competency” or cross-cultural health care training. This includes work on Weissman and Betancourt’s Cross-Cultural Care Survey and the development of a cultural standard patient exam for use as an assessment tool in the department’s general surgery residency program. She was recognized for her work in this area by serving on the first ever panel on cultural competency at the 2014 American College of Surgeons’ Clinical Congress. Most recently, she was an invited speaker at the Provider Awareness and Cultural Dexterity Toolkit for Surgeons (PACTS) Development Workshop at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. In addition, Dr. Chun has been involved with coordinating cross-cultural health care activities through the development of a multispecialty and multidisciplinary research group (i.e., Cross-Cultural Health Care Research Collaborative). Another important project she has been overseeing is JABSOM/Department of Surgery’s biennial Cross-Cultural Health Care Conference, which encourages collaboration among multiple disciplines (e.g., medicine, psychology, public health) regarding the broad and complex issue of culture and its role in health care and the healthcare delivery system.

Prior to her return to academia, Dr. Chun worked for the legislative and executive branches of state government as a program budget analyst, regulatory reform director, and as a program evaluator/auditor. Her final position with the Legislature was as the Deputy Auditor (Office of the State Auditor). She continues her government service as one of two public members on the Hawaii Medical Board.