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Saving lives through simulation

Lorrie Wong, Director, University of Hawai'i Health Science Simulation Center
Lorrie Wong, Director, University of Hawai'i Health Science Simulation Center
On entering the patient’s room to check on Mr. Kahui’s vital signs, a student nurse notices that he is having trouble breathing—then goes unconscious. The student immediately activates the rapid response team, the inter-professional
group that determines treatment and begins administering to Mr. Kahui, who is clinging to life.

A day at the hospital, trauma center or emergency room? Actually, it’s a day in class for these nursing students, who are working on Mr. Kahui, a high-fidelity manikin aka Sim Man. The School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene is home to several
such tools to enhance practical learning. The new $8 million UH Translational Health Science Simulation Center, opening in January 2012 in Webster Hall, will serve as a campus hub for interdisciplinary translational health science research, simulation and research education.

The Center provides a venue for students to learn in a range of care delivery settings, including a simulated operating room, intensive care unit, labor and delivery suite, ambulatory, and day home setting. “This is very important to our nursing students,” says Lorrie Wong, director of the Sim Center. “Our students will have real-life experiences that
cover all aspects of healthcare.” The 7,000-squarefoot, state-of-the-art facility will be used for clinical
simulation for students, educators, practicing healthcare providers and researchers.

Through this initiative, the existing simulation labs among the UH Nursing Programs on Maui, Kauai and the Big Island of Hawai‘i will be linked. Embraced by Hawai’i’s healthcare community as a shared resource, founding partners of the Center
are UH Mānoa, HMSA Foundation, Hawai‘i Pacific Health, The Queen’s Medical Center and Kaiser Permanente Hawai‘i.

Contact Dr. Wong at or see the website at

Top photo: Nursing students gain practical experience working on Sim Man, a high-fidelity manikin.

Battling a deadly cancer

Mesothelioma Cells
Mesothelioma (cells featured in picture above) line the chest and abdominal cavities. It is one of the most aggressive and difficult cancers to treat.
A generous gift to the UH Cancer Center is helping researchers uncover clues to one of the world’s deadliest cancer. Mesothelioma, whose cells line the chest and abdominal cavities, is also one of the most aggressive and difficult cancers to treat. The current median survival from diagnosis is just 12 months.

Prevention and early intervention are soon to become a reality, thanks to a $3.58 million gift to the UH Cancer Center from an anonymous donor to support the mesothelioma research of Director Michele Carbone. He and colleagues, who include Drs. Haining Yang and Giovanni Gaudino, have made a series of recent scientific breakthroughs that will lead to new ways to prevent and treat the disease. “This generous gift is critical to support our efforts to generate discoveries that will aid in the prevention of mesothelioma and the development of more effective therapies,” acknowledges Dr. Carbone.

He has studied mesothelioma for more than a decade, with significant findings having come from studies conducted in the villages of Capadoccia, a region of Turkey. Dubbed “death villages,” nearly 50 percent of the area’s residents develop and die of mesothelioma. The epidemic is caused by exposure to a mineral fiber called erionite, which is even more potent than asbestos in causing mesothelioma. Erionite is a naturally occurring mineral found in rock formations and homes built of rock material in the region. The team’s findings led to a response from the Turkish government that included building the villagers new homes and a regional health center to conduct screening and treatment for mesothelioma.

Dr. Carbone and collaborators will conduct a clinical trial co-sponsored by the Early Detection Research Network of the U.S. National Cancer Institute and the Turkish Ministry of Health to validate serum biomarkers they discovered for the early detection of mesothelioma.

This past winter, Carbone reported new findings describing potential erionite exposure in the U.S. (Nature, Dec. 16, 2010). Collaborating with scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institutes of Health, they found evidence of erionite in rock materials used to pave roads in North Dakota and other states. Public health concerns have been raised and the team’s examination continues in partnership with the EPA. Findings from a new detailed study were presented at a recent scientific meeting and have been published in the July 25, 2011 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a leading scientific journal. The National Institutes of Health has planned a conference this fall to discuss potential public health issues related to erionite exposure.

The UH Cancer Center is currently constructing a world-class research facility in Honolulu, scheduled to open in early 2013. It has launched efforts to raise private support for the development and expansion of its research expertise and programs.

To learn more about the UH Cancer Center, visit

Top photo: Dr. Michele Carbone, director of the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, has studied mesothelioma for more than 14 years.

Feature: Mastering business in Vietnam

Tra My Nguyen
Tra My Nguyen
On Tra My Nguyen’s desk is a photo of her cradling the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Vietnam executive MBA diploma that she holds dear to her heart. “I am very proud of this photo,” she says. “It is a sign of success for me.” Shortly after graduation, the 2007 Shidler College of Business alumna founded CSC JSC, a joint-stock company headquartered in Hanoi, Vietnam. Nguyen and her team have engaged CSC in a host of successful activities from finance mining to financial and real estate investments.

Shidler’s Vietnam executive MBA program, in partnership with Hanoi School of Business, has provided business executives with the skills and abilities to succeed in a range of leadership positions. It is the youngest of three UH country-specific MBA programs:

• The Japan-focused MBA program started in 1990. Students spend 18 months in business courses at UH Mānoa and language and cultural training at the Japan-America Institute of Management Science, followed by a three-month internship with a company in Japan.
• The China international MBA program opened in 2007, built on the foundation of the China-focused executive MBA program offered 1997-2006. Students spend a year on core coursework at UH Mānoa, followed by nine months of elective coursework at Sun Yat-Sen University School of Business in Guangzhou.
• The Vietnam MBA program was launched in 2001. All classes are taught in Vietnam by Shidler College of Business professors in a two-year executive format that allows students to maintain full-time positions while earning their degrees.

The Vietnam program is the only executive MBA program in that country accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Accreditation assures students of a high quality, relevant and internationally recognized education. And it has attracted excellent students, says William R. Johnson Jr. Distinguished Professor of Marketing Dana Alden, faculty director of several former VEMBA cohorts in Hanoi. “We have consistently graduated top-level managers from well-known companies in Vietnam.”

In a recent survey reported in NDN Money, the Vietnamese equivalent of Money magazine, 55 percent of Vietnam executive MBA (VEMBA) graduates hold the chair, president or chief operating officer post in top corporations.

Christine Tran
Christine Tran
Alden, who originally spearheaded the Hanoi program, recalls an incredible spirit of cooperation in each class. “We’ve built an alumni network that remains strong and supportive of our graduates in Vietnam,” he adds. “Alumni dinners in Hanoi attract many former and current students. The camaraderie is great.” The Vietnam executive MBA was a perfect fit for graduate Christine , a Vietnamese-American San Francisco native who had relocated to Vietnam because of her job. Tran says she had no interest in going to a top 10 business school on the East Coast to land a job on Wall Street, but “wanted to continue working in Vietnam while applying classroom lessons to my workplace.”

Now a senior researcher at a consulting firm in the San Francisco Bay area, Tran praises the Shidler faculty. “They demonstrated real dedication to our learning and understood the challenges students have juggling full-time management positions with coursework,” she says. “My classmates were amazing. I was floored by their generosity, enthusiasm and contributions in the classroom.”

In 2007, the college extended the Vietnam executive MBA to Ho Chi Minh City. The country’s largest city is, like Hanoi, a mecca for young entrepreneurs, overseas investors and young Vietnamese eager to make it big.

Ho Chi Minh City produces 25 percent of Vietnam’s gross domestic product and is predicted to increase its population of 7 million by 50 percent in the near future, notes Shidler Dean Vance Roley. The literacy rate is high—90 percent—and English is the preferred second-language. Ambitious Vietnamese managers and executives are eager to enroll in the program, he adds.

They include alumnus Jonathan Kuba, who moved from Hawaiʻi to Ho Chi Minh City to work for a venture capital fund.

Jonathan Kuba
Jonathan Kuba
The president of IFB Holdings and manager of private investments in two start-up companies sought knowledge on managing and growing businesses to become a better leader and investor.

“The faculty was wonderful and the material was relevant,” Kuba says. “The program confirmed some practical business lessons that I learned in the past and put them into a structured context.”

“We have a clear educational mission in Vietnam,” says Tung Bui, VEMBA program director and Matson Navigation Company Endowed Chair of Global Business. “We want to educate a new generation of business leaders and we hope that our alumni will significantly contribute to the economic welfare of their countrymen through their leadership positions.”

He expects the MBA education market to become more competitive with an influx of other foreign and national universities. Still, he pledges, “we will continue to improve our curriculum and recruitment so that we remain the most respected program in the country.”

This article appeared in the most recent issue of Mālamalama. Visit

VEMBA Class of 2011
VEMBA’s eighth cohort graduated in July, with its alumni added to the Who’s Who of top business executives in Vietnam. In middle of graduates are VEMBA Director Tung Bui, Jay Shidler, and Shidler College of Business Dean V. Vance Roley.