Hawai’i has long been blessed with a cadre of individuals who have made long-term commitments to the marginalized people of the region stretching back to Father Damien of Molokai and beyond. Dr. Drew Kovach is one such individual who shares that commitment. He devoted himself to HIV care in Hawaii, as well as in the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Island Jurisdictions when the first cases of HIV were diagnosed in Hawaii.
Dr. Kovach joined the Hawai’i AIDS Education and Training Center (HAETC) as a voluntary faculty member at its inception, and has never turned away from donating his time and expertise to the people of Hawai’i and the Pacific region.
For nearly thirty years, Dr. Kovach flew to each of the State’s Islands to provide HIV care in rural settings, often times, when nobody else could, and took week-long journeys to the Pacific Island Jurisdictions to instruct novice clinicians in the art of HIV care where clinical resources and patient social support were few and far between. All the while, Dr. Kovach opened his HIV clinic, then the largest in Hawai’i, to clinical mentees from Hawai’i, the Mainland U.S., and the Pacific Island Jurisdictions.
Dr. Kovach’s dedication to the HAETC through the decades has meant that hundreds of clinicians from the Pacific region have received best practices HIV training and was able to improve the lives of vulnerable patients, often forgotten by society.