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Moores UCSD Cancer Center Luau and Longboard Invitational Announce Dr. David Easter to Receive the 2009 Rell Sunn 'Queen of Makaha' Award

Brilliant Doctor Brings the 'Aloha Spirit' into a Patient-Centered Approach to Surgical Medicine and Training

SAN DIEGO, June 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The Moores UCSD Cancer Center Luau & Longboard Invitational announced today that David Easter, M.D., director of the General Surgery Residency Program at UCSD, will receive the 2009 Rell Sunn "Queen of Makaha" Award in recognition of his patient-centered approach and dedication to training the next generation of surgeons. The award will be formally presented to Dr. Easter at the 16th Annual Moores UCSD Cancer Center Luau & Longboard Invitational held at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography on August 23, 2009.

"This perpetual trophy is awarded each year to the person or persons who best embody the true 'aloha spirit' and display the qualities shared by Rell Sunn and the Luau & Longboard Invitational - the battle against cancer, combined with unselfishness, compassion and a dedication to helping others," said Jessica Yingling, co-chair of the 16th Annual Moores UCSD Cancer Center Luau & Longboard Invitational. "Dr. Easter is a perfect fit for the Rell Sunn Award, and we are proud to recognize his dedication to caring for the whole patient and passing on the 'aloha spirit' to the next generation of surgeons."

Dr. Easter has a passion for his patients and a passion for his work. Even though he's already involved in multiple groups that influence patient care, he still finds the time to lead medical students and surgical residents through the multifaceted world of surgery. As director of the General Surgery Residency Program, Dr. Easter is the mentor-in-chief of a new generation of surgeons. With him in that role, there is great hope for new surgeons who are not only possessed of the latest technical skills in the field but also carry warmth and sensitivity to the feelings of patient and their families. In addition, Dr. Easter influences the world of doctor-patient communication through various studies that seek to determine the best ways for patients to disclose their fears about surgeries, treatments and life in general.

"I want my patients to know they are not alone. As a part of their medical team I am here to help them fight their battle, and I care about each and every one of them. My patients are far more to me than another surgery on my schedule," said Dr. Easter. "As a regular attendee of the Luau & Longboard Invitational, I am thrilled and deeply honored to be selected for this year's Rell Sunn Award. I will display this award proudly because I believe that a surgeon's humanity can be just as important as one's skills with a scalpel."

Dr. Easter was the first recipient of the Vice Chancellor's Excellence in Clinical Care award at UCSD and has prepared the UCSD Cancer Center to truly treat the whole patient from head-to-toe, inside-and-out. He has formed and trained specialized clinical teams to care for patients who have particular types of cancer and continues to focus on the safety and well-being of all patients.

"Dr. Easter has the ability to form profound relationships with his patients and the bonds that are formed run deep," said Dennis Carson, M.D., director of the Moores UCSD Cancer Center. "So deep that people from all over the world travel just for the chance to meet with him; his opinions and evaluations are invaluable to his patients."

About the Rell Sunn Award

The award, established in 1998, is named after Rell Kapolioka'ehukai Sunn, a legendary Hawai'ian surfer and goodwill ambassador known as the "Queen of Makaha." She passed away on Jan. 2, 1998 at the age of 47 after a 15-year battle against cancer. During her entire fight with the disease, Rell gave freely of herself and indelibly affected each and every person with whom she came in contact with. This perpetual trophy is awarded each year to the person or persons who best display the qualities shared by Rell and the Moores UCSD Cancer Center Luau and Longboard Invitational, which includes the battle against cancer, combined with unselfishness, compassion and a dedication to helping others that embodies the true "aloha spirit." Past winners of the Rell Sunn award include Dr. J. Craig Venter, founder, chairman, and president of the J. Craig Venter Institute and former president and founder of Celera Genomics; Alex Szekely, a leading advocate of the "total health" concept - incorporating the well being of one's body, mind and spirit into a single package for lifelong health and happiness; and Dr. John Greif, an attending surgeon at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in San Diego, where he chairs the Area Cancer Committee. To read more about the award, please visit

About the Luau & Longboard Invitational

The 16th Annual Moores UCSD Cancer Center Luau & Longboard Invitational will take place August 23, 2009 at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. The event is regarded as one of the most successful surfing-related fundraisers in the world and has gained an international reputation among surfing enthusiasts in the business and surfing worlds by simultaneously celebrating the "aloha spirit" of surfing and the gracefulness of supporting cancer research and survival. To date, the Luau has raised more than $3.0 million for the Moores UCSD Cancer Center. For more information about sponsorship opportunities, team entries, tickets and event activities, contact the Moores UCSD Cancer Center at (858) 822-0023, or visit the event website at

About the Moores UCSD Cancer Center

The Moores UCSD Cancer Center was founded in 1979. The Center is one of just 41 in the United States to hold the National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center. As such, it ranks among the top centers in the nation conducting basic and clinical cancer research, providing advanced patient care and serving the community through outreach and education programs. The center's mission is to translate promising scientific discoveries into new and better options for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer, and the amelioration of pain. For more information, visit

SOURCE The Moores UCSD Cancer Center Luau & Longboard Invitational
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