Meet Our Team

Dr. Ira Zunin, MD, MPH
Primary Care and Preventive Medicine
Occupational Health and Integrative Medicine
Pain Management

Dr. Zunin has been practicing medicine in Hawaii since 1993. He is the medical director of Manakai O Malama Integrative Healthcare Group and Rehabilitation Center and maintains a full-time integrative clinical practice specializing in occupational health, preventive medicine and chronic pain.

He earned his medical degree from the UCLA School of Medicine. He completed a residency in Preventive Medicine in Hawaii and also earned a Master’s Degree in Occupational and Environmental Health. After further experience in the field, he earned Specialty Board Certification in General Preventive Medicine and Public Health and has served as Assistant Clinical Professor at the School of Public Health at the University of Hawaii. He is also certified by the American Board of Independent Medical Examiners, the American Board of Ambulatory Medicine and the American Association of Medical Review Officers.

In addition to his practice at Manakai O Malama, Dr. Zunin lectures locally, nationally and internationally on a variety of aspects of health and wellness with a particular focus on integrative medicine. He is frequently featured in the media and writes a regular column, Health and Wellness in the Honolulu Star Advertiser.

Dr. Carolyn Candido, MD

Carolyn Candido MD, a graduate of University of Southern California Family Medicine program is a board certified Family Medicine physician that specializes in Integrative Medicine. She is the first resident in her program to complete the University of Arizona Integrative Medicine track and the winner of the Weil Foundation grant. She has studied Ayurvedic medicine, Chinese medicine, energy medicine, and functional medicine. Her focus is on women’s health and pain management.

Dr. Catherine Kurosu

Born, raised, and trained in Canada, Dr. Catherine Kurosu graduated from the University of Toronto School of Medicine in 1990. She completed her internship and residency at the same institution and qualified as a specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1995. Dr. Kurosu has studied and worked in Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Chile. Through her travels, she learned there are many ways to approach a problem and the patient usually understands their illness best. By combining the patient's insight with medical guidance, effective treatment plans can be developed.  

     In 2006, Dr. Kurosu became a Diplomate of the American Board of Holistic Medicine and, in 2014, re-certified with the same board, now known as the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine. In 2009, she certified as a Medical Acupuncturist through the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the Helms Medical Institute. Dr. Kurosu became a member of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture, then a Diplomate of the American Board of Medical Acupuncture, which confers this title to practitioners with increasing experience.  

     Since then, Dr. Kurosu completed a Masters of Science in Oriental Medicine, graduating from the Institute of Clinical Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in Honolulu. In 2015, she fulfilled all the requirements necessary to become a licensed acupuncturist in Hawaii where she practices integrative medicine, blending Western and Eastern approaches to patient care. 

Christopher ‘Scott’ Acree, PA-C, General Practice, Pain Management

Christopher Acree, Scott, as he prefers to go by, is a Board Certified Physician’s Assistant in Primary Care and Special Recognition for Surgery.  He joined the Manakai O Malama team in December 2013.  He specializes in general medicine, chronic pain management as well as minor outpatient procedures.  He earned his degree in 1998 from the University of Nebraska Medical Center with a BS in Physician Assistant Studies.  He served in the United States Air Force from 1996 – 2003 where he achieved the rank of Captain, serving as a linguist and later a Certified Physician’s Assistant. 

He speaks Japanese, Spanish and Vietnamese conversationally.  Having moved to Hawaii in June 2009, he has embraced the local culture stating, “The social differences of the local Hawaiians are very unique and allow excellent experience in dealing with people from different ethnic backgrounds of the many pacific islands.”

Nellie Cruz, PAC

Nellie K. Cruz (Nellie), is Board Certified Physician Assistant in Primary Care. She joined the Manakai O Malama team in October 2016.  

Nellie is a native of Texas with strong roots in Mexico, and is fluent in Spanish. She earned her degree in 2007 from the University of Nebraska Medical Center with a Masters in Physician Assistant Studies. Nellie retired from US Army in 2013 after serving for 22 yrs. While on active duty, Nellie served as a Dental Assistant, Dental Hygienist, Senior Dental Instructor at the Academy of Dental Science at Fort Sam Houston, TX and later as Certified Physician’s Assistant where she achieved the rank of Captain.

Among the achievements that Nellie is particularly proud of is her service to the country, which allowed to her to gain increased perspective of many different behaviors and cultures. Her tenure in the Army has allowed her to reside in places such as Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Korea, Germany, Afghanistan and Hawaii. Secondly, and not less important, Nellie is proud of her family which includes a 24 year marriage and 3 beautiful daughters.

As a healthcare professional, Nellie strives to provide the best medical care possible to her patients and always remembering that all patients need to be treated with the utmost respect and dignity.

Naturopathic Medicine

Dr. Landon Ka lauʻae naʻi i nā lā ino Opunui, ND

As a local boy and Kamehameha graduate, Dr. Opunui left the islands to pursue his Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Science at Loyola Marymount University while competing as a 4 year NCAA Division I athlete in the sport of rowing. Dr. Opunui then went on to pursue his Naturopathic Doctorate at Bastyr University, one of the most world renowned science-based institutions of natural health.  Bastyr’s rigorous medical program provided him with deep medical knowledge, an awareness of the most innovative developments in medicine, and the creativity to formulate individualized and effective intervention strategies to manage, cure and prevent disease.

Dr. Opunui is a firm believer in the naturopathic principle of Docere (Doctor as Teacher) and agrees wholeheartedly that in order to effectively teach, one must practice what they preach.  Dr. Opunui strives to exemplify health promoting behavior and balance as a competitive endurance athlete having finished 5 Ironman triathlons. Health promotion counseling is at the forefront of successful naturopathic healing which consists of educating patients on how various determinants of health such as genetics, diet, lifestyle, environment, mental and emotional well-being, and ones sense of purpose in life creates the framework for health and one's capacity to live and be well.

With an interest in cardiometabolic disease, endocrine disorders, autoimmune disease, GI pathologies, mood disorders, oncology and Native Hawaiian health, Dr. Opunui is honored to return to the place he calls home with the responsibility of serving the health needs of his community as a naturopathic physician. Dr. Opunui believes that everyone deserves a safe place to heal and be heard. In private practice, Dr. Opunui’s passion lies in developing relationships with his patients and their health through comprehensive integrative natural medical care and individualized support.

Visit his website here: www.dropunui.com

Psychology

Dr. Wayne McClellan, PsyD

Dr. McClellan, Psy.D. received his Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology from Hawaii School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University, and works with Individual, adults, couples and groups. His professional interests include PTSD and other anxiety disorders, depression, mood disorders, health psychology, weight management, chronic disease management, grief and bereavement; relationship difficulties; and issues regarding stages of life. His theoretical orientation is Integrative, to include Cognitive-Behavioral and Humanistic approaches. He also received two additional Master’s degrees in Communications and Marketing from CBN University, and Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from U of S.C. In his spare time he enjoys water sports, ballroom dancing, and spending time with family.

Chiropractic Medicine

Dr. Cara Poppas, DC

Dr. Cara Poppas received her Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Sherman College in
South Carolina in 2016. She is Webster Certified and a member of the International
Chiropractic Pediatric Association. Dr. Cara provides patient-centered chiropractic
care to families living in Honolulu and the surrounding communities.

Dr. Cara creates a compassionate healing environment and inspires a participatory
relationship between doctor and patient to develop an individualized treatment plan for
each patient. She employs a comprehensive treatment approach to wellness including
gentle, specific adjustments to the spine and affected joints, soft tissue therapy,
rehabilitative exercises, nutrition, and lifestyle modifications.

Prior to earning her degree as a chiropractor, Dr. Cara specialized in deep tissue
massage therapy as a licensed massage therapist for twelve years in southern Maine
treating a myriad of neuromusculoskeletal conditions and injuries. She worked in an
integrative medicine health care practice along with an array of practitioners including
functional medicine physicians, naturopaths, acupuncturists, psychiatrists, and healing
touch practitioners.

Dr. Cara recently moved to the beautiful island of Oahu to live the aloha spirit way of
life. She enjoys world travel, studying new and ancient cultures, and practicing organic
farming and permaculture methods. Dr. Cara’s interests also include hiking, swimming,
biking, paddle boarding, meditation, and healthy gourmet cooking with whole foods.

Occupational Therapy

Hilary Valentine, OTR/L, Clinical Administrator

Hilary attended Boston University and graduated with a Master’s of Science in Occupational Therapy in 2007. Upon completion of her degree she moved to Hawaii. Since 2007 she has worked in a variety of settings including inpatient rehabilitation, skilled nursing, and community settings. Her passion lies in work with clients with chronic conditions, as well as using OT to promote health and wellness in all of her clients’ lives. Hilary uses an integrative and holistic approach to therapy with concentration on close collaboration with the client to achieve their desired goals. Hilary is also trained as a health and wellness coach through Wellcoaches.

Peggy Fye, OTR/L

Peggy Fye has over 20 years experience as an occupational therapist. She has specialized in manual therapy for 15 years, with extensive experience in gentle techniques including Craniosacral, Strain/Counterstrain, Mobilizations with Movement, Muscle Energy, Myofascial Release, and Trigger point therapy. She enjoys treating chronic pain conditions, and can treat patients of all ages because the therapies are so gentle. She also believes in teaching self strategies to so that patients can participate with their own healing.

She moved to Hawaii 4 years ago from Kansas, where she was a Jay Hawk from the University of Kansas, collected Wizard of Oz memorabilia, and dodged tornadoes.

Physical Therapy

Steve Thomas, DPT

Steve Thomas has been practicing physical therapy since 2004 when he graduated from the University of North Dakota.  In 2007,  he continued his education and graduated from the University of North Dakota with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy.  Steve’s focus is general orthopedics, but, because of his experience as both a high school and collegiate athlete, he has a passion for treating sports medicine patients as well.

Lia Yamamoto, DPT

Lia has been practicing physical therapy since 2005 after graduating from Pacific University with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. Born and raised on Maui, Lia has been greatly enjoying her recent return back to Hawaii after practicing in Portland, Oregon for over 10 years. She is certified in ASTYM soft tissue therapy, and enjoys helping people return to activity, sport, and work. 

Fabienne Wade, PT

Fabienne earned a Bachelors in Science in physical therapy from State University of New York in Buffalo in 1983. She moved to Hawaii that same year where she began to practice physical therapy full-time. In 1997 she opened a physical therapy practice in Guam and spent the next three years there serving as the lead physical therapist. She has since moved back to Oahu permanently and lives on the North Shore. Fabienne specializes in the treatment of orthopedic injuries, with particular expertise in spine rehabilitation. She also works closely with patients to encourage them to move forward in their lives, beyond the pain and disability they have been dealing with.

Nani Ishii, PTA

Nani earned her PTA license from Oregon State University and a PTA certificate from Kapiolani Community College in 1996. She has 15 years of experience in outpatient rehabilitation and offers particular expertise in orthopedics. Nani was born and raised was on Oahu where she first became interested in integrative healthcare.

Acupuncture

Alia Zunin, LAc

Born and raised in Ireland, Alia received her Social Work degree from Trinity College, Dublin. Ten years in California exploring various healing and life enhancing arts led her to the study of acupuncture. She moved to Hawaii in 1993 where she received her Masters Degree in Oriental Medicine from Tai Hsuan Foundation. She currently lives in Honolulu and practices acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine at Manakai O Malama.

Tara Mattes, LAC

Tara Mattes graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a B.A in World Religions and Biology. Upon graduation her career took her to various parts of the world where she eventually encountered acupuncture. Determined to learn more about this art, she was fortunate enough to land in Hawaii where she choose to study under Taoist Master, Dr. Chang Yi Hsiang, Ph. D. at the Tai Hsuan College of Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine.  She has had a wide variety of experience from women’s health, addiction and recovery, to pain management. She currently practices at Manakai O Malama.

Lucia Chung, LAC

Lucia Chung graduated with a Masters of Chinese Medicine in Honolulu in 2008 and has been in practice since. She believes body, mind and soul are one, and that this unity can be accessed through energetic pathways. Lucia incorporates acupuncture, cupping and tuina modalities into her treatments to assist healing.

Massage Therapy

Noel Eto, LMT

Licensed and practicing massage therapy for over 35 years, Noel has studied Shiatsu, Swedish massage, Reiki-2nd degree, reflexology, cranial sacral therapy and trigger point therapy.
Noel received her Physical Therapist Assistant degree in 2001 to expand medical knowledge and increase manual skills. Also a disciple of Wu Style T’ai Chi Ch’uan Master Patricia Leong.

Lama Wangchuck

Born in Tibet and trained in India as Tibetan Buddhist monk, Lama was assigned by his elder brother His Eminence the 12th Tai Situ Rinpoche to teach meditation in Hawaii. He has followed these instructions over the past 21 years. In 2012 he pursued his education in massage therapy, acquiring his license in 2014. Since that time Lama has worked at Manakai O Malama as a medical massage therapist providing his patients with a variety of massage techniques including Swedish, Shiatsu, and Lomi Lomi massage techniques with goal of reducing pain, increasing circulation and improving range of motion. Lama incorporates his training as a monk and meditation leader into his massage sessions, providing patients with a unique experience. 
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