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Islands Hospice serves our patients, our families, and our community with a total commitment to excellence in hospice care.

Celebrating Women Physicians Day 2023: A Q&A with Dr. Ritabelle Fernandes

Posted on February 3, 2023

Ask the Expert

Dr. Ritabelle Fernandes
For Women Physicians Day, we celebrate Dr. Fernandes and the other women physicians who put their patients first.

Meet Dr. Ritabelle Fernandes, a highly skilled and compassionate physician who has dedicated her career to providing health care to those in need. As a doctor who specializes in internal medicine, geriatric medicine, and hospice and palliative care, she has a deep understanding of the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of patients and their families. As a physician at Islands Hospice and the Hawaii Homeless Healthcare Hui (H4), she is a true example of the dedication and care that women doctors bring to the field of hospice care and our community. For Women Physicians Day, we celebrate Dr. Fernandes and the other women physicians who put their patients first. Read on to learn more about Dr. Fernandes in this Q&A feature.

What led you to a career in health care and how did you   choose your specialty/specialties?

My catholic upbringing instilled in me at a very young age a desire to serve the poor and needy. I have three specialties – internal medicine, geriatric medicine, hospice and palliative care. I enjoy working with the elderly, maybe because I missed having grandparents around.

What is the best part of your job and what do you enjoy about working with Islands Hospice?

Bringing comfort and easing suffering at the end-of-life. Islands Hospice is committed to serving the community, the team is very dedicated to providing excellent hospice care. It is an honor and pleasure to work with Islands Hospice.

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) reports that 37% of the active physician workforce in the U.S. is female. In Hawaii, approximately  33% of physicians are female. What can be done to increase this number?

Many women physicians give up the practice of medicine to care for their families. Motherhood is also a rewarding profession.

Do you have any advice for women interested in pursuing health care or for young female doctors just starting their careers?

The sky's the limit, keep on dreaming!