About us

Community First is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization established in 2014. We are dedicated to realizing a community which believes healthcare is caring for health and not just treating disease.  It is not enough to take personal responsibility for our well-being. As a community we have to help each other to do so. In our community every resident should be supported in taking responsibility for their health and well-being by their medical providers, their employers, and their County. Only by fostering this personal responsibility in caring for health and well-being can our community achieve a sustainable medical system which can provide quality care for all of its people.


We have adopted a two prong approach to transforming healthcare and personal accountability for health. The first is by forming a Regional Health Improvement Collaborative (RHIC). The RHIC seeks to address the fundamental reform of healthcare payment. The second, is addressing community Well Being Challenges through grass-roots initiatives and education.


A community where we all take personal responsibility
and help each other care for our well-being


To create a sustainable medical system which provides
quality care for all the people of our community

The Board

The Board

Chairman & President



Vice President

Barry Taniguchi is the CEO and Chairman of KTA Super Stores. Regarded as a key leader in Hawaii Island’s business and civic community, Taniguchi has proven to be profoundly interested in improving Hawai‘i Island’s health, wellness, and way of life. He currently serves as President for the Aloha Council of the Boy Scouts of America and the Hilo High School Foundation,  Director of American Savings Bank F.S.B., Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc., Valley Isle Produce, Inc., Hawaii Island Economic Development Board, and Trustee of  Public Schools of Hawaii Foundation, Lyman House Memorial Museum and Pacific Tsunami Museum.

Roberta Chu is the Senior Vice President and Island Manager for Hawai’i Island, Bank of Hawai‘i, Chu has taken every opportunity to give back to the community. She is a member of the Hawai‘i Island Leadership council for Hawai‘i Community Foundation and serves as a Director of Hawai‘i Island Economic Development Board.

Ka‘iu Kimura is the Executive Director of the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center where she facilitates visitor experiences based on engagement with the scientific and cultural communities. She serves as a member of ‘Ahu Pūnana Leo, President of Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce, and Director for Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Hawai‘i. Through these positions Kimura is working to help the community engage in education though the unique perspective of Hawai‘i.

Dr. Richard Lee Ching serves as the Managing Director of the East Hawai‘i Independent Physicians Association. For 35 years, Dr. Lee Ching has been a leader and advocate for healthcare initiatives in East Hawai‘i. His focus is on increasing access, better quality, and overall well-being.

Dan Brinkman serves as the CEO of the East Hawaii Region of HHSC which includes Hilo Medical Center, Kau Hospital and Hale Ho'ola Hamakua. Brinkman joined Hilo Medical Center in 2007 as the Chief Nursing Officer. Prior to moving to East Hawaii, he was the Assistant Administrator of Interventional Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery at Vanderbilt University’s Medical Center. Brinkman is dedicated to improving East Hawai‘i’s community through better health and outstanding care.

Charlene Iboshi (retired) served as Prosecuting Attorney for County of Hawai‘i. Her work as prosecutor led to her doing outstanding work in the community and serving on the Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center (KMC) Board of Directors. She received the KMC Peacemaker award in 2012. Iboshi is an active member of the Rotary Club of South Hilo and is a driven community advocate.

Executive Director

Mike Sayama is Vice President and Executive Director of Learning Health Homes at Pono Corporation.   He has worked in the health care industry for over thirty years; including 17 years as a Vice President for benefits management and customer relations at Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA). Sayama is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Michigan (PhD Clinical Psychology). His goal is to create a sustainable health care system through payment reform, information integration, care coordination, and community engagement.  He is the author of Samadhi, Self-Development in Zen, Psychotherapy, and Swordsmanship and co-author of Focused Psychotherapy with Dr. Nick Cummings.


To succeed, we must create a community where everyone feels it is their civic duty to take care of their health and where everyone helps each other to do so.”

--Barry Taniguchi