In Memoriam: Mary Guo

May 7, 2021

The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) commemorates the life of Mary Guo, a graduate student in the University of Hawai'i Mānoa's Doctor of Nursing Practice program and a former trainee in the 2012-2013 cohort of the Hawai'i Maternal and Child Health Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Program (Hawai'i MCH LEND). Guo passed away unexpectedly in July 2020 and was set to complete the UH Mānoa Doctor of Nursing Practice program this spring. 

Mary Guo was truly an emerging leader and fierce advocate in the maternal and child health field. She received numerous scholarships and awards to further her academic career from the Hawai'i Community Foundation, the Hawai'i Hospital Education and Research Foundation, and the UH Scholarship Foundation. Guo embodied the spirit of public health leadership. She shadowed every possible health profession as part of her exploration to identify career pathways that would allow her to achieve her lifelong goal to serve children, families, and the elderly. She served as a Project Analyst for the Ka Huliau Medical Home Task Force of the American Academy of Pediatrics Hawaiʻi Chapter, helping over 60 community pediatricians achieve medical home certification in the early days of HMSA payment transformation. She authored five articles on maternal and child health outcomes within the Asian and Pacific Islander population. She was most recently employed with the Palolo Chinese Home, a facility for the elderly based on the Chinese philosophy of filial piety and benevolence towards the elderly. 

Guo was deeply engrained in her community and her loss was felt by many, particularly the Hawai'i MCH LEND. Guo maintained strong connections with the federally funded, competitive leadership training program. Leolinda Lekopa, Co-Director for Hawai'i MCH LEND, expressed how Guo exemplified the program's motto "Once a trainee, forever a trainee." Lekopa cited Guo's active contribution to the recruitment of new trainees for the Hawai'i MCH LEND. Mary Guo was also active within the University of Hawai'i university system, serving roles as a graduate research assistant, a program specialist, and as an assistant residence director. 

In her free time, she was known to participate in potlucks, social events, food drives, and kupuna care. Those who know her personally attest she was "the sweetest person you can meet". 


The Mary Guo Memorial Scholarship Fund, supported by University of Hawai'i Foundation was established to support graduate students in the Office of Public Health Studies at the School of Social Work and the Graduate Entry Program in Nursing (GEPN) at UHM Nursing.