UH Med Weekly

June 26, 2020 Awards, Promotions, Tenure & Humanism


Faculty recognized with 11 promotions, one tenure

On behalf of the Dean and the Office of Faculty Affairs, we want to express our sincere congratulations to all (11) of you for being officially awarded promotion and/or tenure this year! We are very proud of your hard work and dedication to your department, school, university, community and field. Especially during these challenging times, we are very fortunate to have you as part of our JABSOM `ohana and look forward to your continued academic contributions and professional success!

Below is the complete JABSOM 2020 promotion/tenure list:

Office of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Melissa Kahili-Heede - Promotion to Librarian III

Obstetrics, Gynecology & Women's Health

Mark Hiraoka - Promotion to Professor

Kimberly Nagamine - Promotion to Assistant Professor


David Kurahara - Promotion to Professor

May Okihiro - Promotion to Associate Professor


Cedric Lorenzo - Promotion to Associate Professor

Paul Morris - Promotion to Associate Professor

Stacey Woodruff - Promotion to Associate Professor

Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology & Pharmacology

Saguna Verma - Promotion to Professor

Axel Lehrer - Tenure with automatic Promotion to Associate Professor

Quantitative Health Sciences

Amy Brown - Promotion to Professor

Below is the link to the full UH announcement:


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Kalei Hosaka, third JABSOM student to receive national Excellence in Public Health Award

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At the April 2019 Biomedical Sciences and Health Disparities Symposium, Kalei Hosaka (MS 2021) discusses with a judge his poster that explains his findings on gland inflammation and cognitive impairment in older adults with HIV.

Kalei Hosaka, a third-year medical student at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM), has received the 2020 Excellence in Public Health Award from the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Physician Professional Advisory Committee.

The prestigious award given annually recognizes medical students across the nation who advance public health in their communities and who exemplify the USPHS mission to protect, promote, and advance health and safety. The award was created by the USPHS to inspire medical students to commit themselves to public health and to become leaders in the field. Each year, every U.S. medical school is invited to nominate one student who has worked diligently to increase awareness about community health care.

Elisabeth Young, MD (2018 awardee, JABSOM 2019), and Brandyn Dunn, MD (2014 awardee, JABSOM 2016), are the only other students who have earned this recognition. On Monday, June 22, 2020, JABSOM’s Kalei Hosaka, was acknowledged for his exemplary service in clinical and public health.

“I do not think I know of a medical student who has contributed so much to clinical medicine and public health,” said Paul Kitsutani (JABSOM 1992), MD, MPH, and Captain of the USPHS Physicians Professional Advisory Committee. “This award emphasizes program implementation, research, community service, impact and a commitment to public health. As a JABSOM graduate, I couldn’t be more impressed or proud of Kalei.”

Kalei credits his family’s Christian faith, and challenging childhood experiences of bullying for the concern he has for underserved populations. Kalei grew up in Hawaii and graduated from Hawaii Baptist Academy. He is keenly aware of the disparities and the commonalities he shares with others.

He is a proud graduate of a strong liberal arts school in Illinois, Wheaton College, where he studied Cultural Anthropology.

“In 2015 I was an intern with Shalom [AIDS] Delhi as part of Wheaton’s Human Needs and Global Resources program. During my six months there, I worked in a community health clinic that serves neglected HIV patients from the Delhi slums,” Kalei said. “As a result, the HIV community became important to me. When I began medical school, I made efforts to work on important HIV research and public health topics with the Hawaii Center for AIDS.”

In recent years, he has also been involved in promoting indigenous and migrant health. He credits faculty members for encouraging him to pursue research and public health while at JABSOM: Dr. David Horio, Dr. Dominic Chow, Dr. Martina Kamaka, Dr. Dee-Ann Carpenter, Dr. Seiji Yamada, and Dr. Kamal Masaki.

In January, pushed back from July because of COVID-19, Kalei will begin a year of research funded by the National Institutes of Health Fogarty Program in Tanzania. His focus is youth with HIV, their mental health and antiretroviral therapy resistance patterns. His wife, a University of Hawaii - Manoa graduate nursing program graduate, Leah Hosaka, will join him.

“For me, solidarity is the driving principle for the kind of work I involve myself in and the kind of physician I aspire to be, following JABSOM’s model of obtaining optimal health for all. It’s why I went into medicine,” Kalei said. “I believe that being a physician is my calling and my vocation, just as my interests in public health, research, and writing.”

To get a glimpse of how Kalei sees the world, read this reflection on his time in India.

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Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) provides $15,000 to deserving JABSOM graduate students

Three students from the University of Hawaiʻi’s John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) were awarded 2020 Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS). Brien Haun, a PhD. student in the Cell and Molecular Biology program, and Lauren Ching, a Ph.D. student in Tropical Medicine, Microbiology, and Pharmacology, both received Ellen M. Keonig Awards in Medicine. ARCS awarded the Starbuck Award in Medicine to Aileen Li, a fifth-year doctoral student in the Developmental and Reproductive Biology Program.

Haun, Ching, and Li each received $5,000 from the ARCS Honolulu Chapter. Although the annual awards banquet was cancelled in light of the global pandemic, the local chapter still honored each promising young scholar during a critical time in their graduate studies.

The ARCS Foundation is a non-profit organization that advances science and technology in the United States by providing financial awards to academically outstanding graduate and undergraduate students pursuing degrees in science, engineering and medical research.

Last year’s link


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Libby Ann Char, MD, FACEO & FAAEM, wins the Michael Keys Copass Award

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The Michael Keys Copass Award has been presented to Elizabeth "Libby" Ann Char, MD, FACEP & FAAEM, Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery in the Division of Emergency Medicine, JABSOM ‘91 (UH Manoa ‘87, Kalani High School ‘82). She was given the Michael Keys Copass Award, for services cited in the dedication.

Awarded to that Emergency Medical Services Medical Director who has demonstrated longstanding service, contributions and leadership in the unique realm of out-of-hospital emergency care and who, in addition, has served as a role model, not only for emergency medical services personnel, but also for fellow 9-1-1 system medical directors across the nation.

Libby was inducted into the US Metropolitan Municipalities Emergency Medical Directors Consortium when she was the Emergency Medical Services Director for the City & County of Honolulu under Mayor Mufi Hahnemann. She stayed on when she became medical director of the APEC meeting under Obama, also in Honolulu. She is known and respected by many who join her in the upper echelon of medical directors throughout the nation.

Winners of the Michael Keys Copass Award are selected by the members of the U.S. Metropolitan Municipalities Emergency Medical Services Medical Directors Consortium, the de facto coalition of jurisdictional 9-1-1 system medical directors for the nation’s most populous cities, as well as the medical directors/lead medical officers for key related federal agencies and units such as the FBI, U.S. Secret Service, White House Medical Unit, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Collectively, this small, but cohesive, cadre of about two dozen emergency care physicians is responsible for the day-to-day out-of-hospital 9-1-1 emergency and resuscitative care for about 50,000,000 Americans as well as for guiding the medical aspects of homeland security and disaster mitigation in the nation’s highest-risk venues.

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Dr. Danny Takanishi Elected to National Medical Education Accrediting Body

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Danny M. Takanishi, Jr., MD, FACS, tenured Professor of Surgery and Associate Chair for Academic Affairs at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM), has been elected as a professional member to the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). It is the governing body that sets the standards and accredits medical education programs throughout the United States and Canada. He has been elected for an initial 3-year term, effective July 1, 2020, and is the first from Hawai’i to be elected to the LCME.

The LCME is recognized by the United States Department of Education for its role in accrediting MD degree granting programs in the United States. Established in 1942, the entity is also acknowledged by the World Federation of Medical Education. For medical schools located in the United States, accreditation by the LCME establishes eligibility for selected federal grants and programs, including Title VII funding administered by the United States Public Health Service. Additionally, most state boards of licensure require that United States medical schools granting the MD degree be accredited by the LCME as a condition for licensure of their graduates. Eligibility of U.S. students in MD-granting schools to take the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) requires LCME accreditation of their school.

The 19 voting members of the LCME include 15 professional members (medical educators and practicing physicians), 2 public members, and 2 medical students. The Association of American Medical Colleges and the Council on Medical Education of the American Medical Association each provide nominations to the LCM, which then elects professional, student, and public members from the slates of nominees. One professional member is appointed from the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS) membership.

A graduate of JABSOM, Dr. Takanishi completed a General Surgery Residency and Surgical Critical Care Fellowship in Hawai’i, maintaining American Board of Surgery-certification in both specialties. He then completed a National Institutes of Health-sponsored, Surgical Oncology Fellowship at The University of Chicago and remained on its faculty for a number of years, serving as an Associate Program Director for the Surgical Residency Program and the Director of the Comprehensive Breast Center, prior to returning to Hawaii. He has since served in a number of roles at JABSOM, which include General Surgery Residency Program Director for 13-years, Chair of the Department of Surgery for 11-years, Faculty Senate President, and Faculty Accreditation Lead for the medical school’s LCME site visit in 2017.

Dr. Takanishi has also been active nationally in medical education endeavors for many years, serving as a past-Chair of the USMLE Step II Surgery and the Anatomy and Embryology Test Material Development Committees, Step II Interdisciplinary Review Committees, member of the SPEX Oversight Committee and the USMLE Management Committee. He has also served in a number of roles with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, such as past-Chair of the Transitional Year Review Committee, past-Vice-Chair of the Surgery Review Committee, past-Chair of the Common Program Requirements Subcommittee of the Council of Review Committees, past-Co-Chair of the Transitional Year Residency Milestones Development Workgroup, past-Chair of the Complex General Surgical Oncology Milestones Development Workgroup, and prior member of the Professionalism 2.0 Harmonized Milestones, Complex General Surgical Oncology 2.0 Milestones, and the General Surgery 2.0 Milestones revision Workgroups. He is an appointed associate oral examiner for the Certifying Examination of the American Board of Surgery. He has also served on LCME ad hoc survey teams since 2016.

“I am deeply honored to have been selected for this important role in national medical education and I am truly humbled by the responsibility that comes with it,” Takanishi said.

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The John A. Burns School of Medicine

We welcome your story ideas, photos, and news tips! Please contact Paula and Deb in the JABSOM Communications Office!
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