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Hawaii Rural Health Leader Presented with 2023 Calico Leadership Award

Scott Daniels, the longtime Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Program coordinator at the Hawaii Department of Health, Office of Primary Care and Rural Health, was awarded the 2023 Calico Quality Leadership Award at the annual Flex Program Reverse Site Visit held in Washington, D.C. on July 19-20.  

Scott Daniels accepting 2023 Calico Award

Daniels, who has worked in the Office of Primary Care and Rural Health since 2005, was recognized for his deep commitment to improving the health and well-being of Hawaii’s rural and underserved communities.  

The award is presented annually to an outstanding rural health leader by the Technical Assistance & Services Center (TASC), a program of the National Rural Health Resource Center (The Center). 

“For nearly two decades, Scott has dedicated his public health career to supporting Hawaii’s rural communities to expand access to timely and culturally appropriate health care,” said Gregg Kishaba, the rural health coordinator at the Office of Primary Care and Rural Health. “His diligent focus on quality improvement/assurance, leadership development and health equity has uplifted those working in Hawaii’s rural health facilities, agencies and organizations.” 

Daniels, a Salt Lake City, Utah native who spent much of his youth just north of San Francisco, has worked as a networking consultant, Flex Coordinator and interim chief since he joined the Office of Primary Care and Rural Health in 2005. 

Before that, he served as a consultant and analyst at the Hawaii Health Information Corporation, a nonprofit that collected, analyzed and disseminated statewide health information. He also taught at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, where he earned both a master’s degree and doctorate in political science.  

Daniels has held leadership positions in state and national organizations, including the Hawaii State Rural Health Association, the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health and the National Rural Health Association. He’s also served on advisory boards for TASC, the National Center for Rural Health Works and the Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center.  

Terry Hill, the senior advisor for rural health leadership and policy at The Center, said Daniels has done a good job of gaining the trust and respect of rural hospital leaders throughout the state. 

“What really stands out is that Scott has taken the time to understand the diverse cultures in the islands,” Hill said. “He respects those cultures and he’s actively promoted health equity and inclusion.”  

The Calico Quality Leadership Award was created to honor the legacy of Dr. Forrest Calico, a former clinician and health care administrator. After graduating from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Calico served as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force. He was later a family physician and the residency program director at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Edgewood, Kentucky before being named president and CEO of the Lexington, Kentucky-based Appalachian Regional Healthcare. Calico also served in administrative roles at the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy and the National Rural Health Association.