Awards earned in 23 categories at the 2008 John A. Burns School of Medicine Convocation

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Tina Shelton, (808) 554-2586
Director of Communications
Posted: May 28, 2008

HONOLULU - The John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa awarded medical degrees to 56 graduates this month, including eight neighbor island students. Two of the students were from Moloka'i, five from the Big Island, and one from Maui. On Oʻahu, several students came from rural communities, including two from Wahiawa, one from Waipahu, four from Kailua, one from Kane'ohe, and one from La'ie. Of the graduates, 32 were from Honolulu, two from Aiea, and one from American Samoa. The remaining 4 were from states in the U.S. mainland.

Also granted were awards in 23 different categories, for outstanding achievement in medicine, research, and teaching.

The American College of Physicians (ACP) Award for Excellence in Internal Medicine, which recognizes the most outstanding senior entering an Internal Medicine program, was given to Jennifer Kaya.

Joy Sakai earned the ACP‘s Bernard Yim, MD Award, in recognition of a student who best exemplified excellence in the third year Internal Medicine clerkship. Dr. Yim was a faculty member dedicated to patient care.

The E.E. Black Community Service Award went to Kristi Lopez. The award recognizes a senior for academic excellence and community service, and is funded from charitable contributions by the late Mr. Everett Earl Black. Black was a well-known contractor and developer, whose many projects included the construction of the Biomedical Sciences Building on the Mānoa campus.

Joy Sakai was awarded the Maurice Brodsky, MD Memorial Award, established in 1983 in memory of Dr. Brodsky. Dr. Brodsky was an authority on the treatment of tuberculosis and a key figure in the establishment of the John A. Burns School of Medicine. The award recognizes a student displaying excellence in pulmonary medicine.

The Walter F. Char, MD Prize in Psychiatry, awarded to the senior with the best clinical clerkship in psychiatry, went to Angela Yip. The prize was established in honor of Dr. Char, founder and first Chair of the Department of Psychiatry.

The Society of Academic Emergency Medicine Award, presented in recognition of excellence in emergency medicine, went to Sherrie Suzuki. The Society represents academic and research pursuits of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Dr. Catherine Jean Oliver was awarded the Department of Surgery excellence in emergency medicine teaching.The Hawaiʻi Academy of Family Physicians Outstanding Student Award, established in 1995 to recognize excellence in family medicine, was given to Lauren Okamoto.

Cindy Ta won the Hawaiʻi Medical Association Alliance Endowment Award, which was established in 1998 to recognize community service and academic achievement.

Kyle Chun, Misha Kassel, Jennifer Kaya, Jared Oyama, and Cindy Ta were honored with the Samuro and Florence Y. Ichinose Award. It was established by Mrs. Ichinose in honor of her husband, who had great respect for doctors and their role in the community. The award recognizes five seniors with outstanding academic records.

The Glenn M. Kokame, MD Endowed Memorial Award for Surgery went to Kyle Chun. The award goes to the outstanding fourth year student pursuing a career in surgery or a surgical subspecialty.

Erin Gertz was the recipient of the Colin C. McCorriston, MD Endowed Scholarship Fund. The award provides scholarships to assist students whose intention is to pursue training in an obstetrics and gynecology residency program.

The award recognizing excellence in surgery went to Michael Lee. Known as the Dr. Frank and Mary McDowell Award, it was established in 1983 in memory of Dr. McDowell, a surgeon who was involved in the Hawaiʻi Medical Library and its affiliation with the medical school.

Erika Kwock was given the John M. Ohtani, MD Award. Established in 1983, it is in memory of Dr. Ohtani, Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, and recognizes scholastic achievement, enthusiasm, dedication and willingness to learn.

The Poʻokela Noʻeau Award, established in 1997 by the Friends of the Medical School, recognizes the student whose characteristics best exemplify the qualities of the ideal physician. The recipient is selected by class vote. This year‘s class selected Christine Palermo.

The Poʻokela Noiʻi Award, also established in 1997 by the Friends of the Medical School, recognizes outstanding research by a senior student. The recipient is selected by a faculty panel. Two awards were given this year, to Kyle Chun and Sebastian Sugay.

Student Cindy Ta accepted the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award, presented by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. The award is in recognition of exemplary compassion, competence, and respect in the delivery of care. The faculty awardee was Dr. Jill Omori.

The Dr. Volt H. Tom Excellence in Geriatric Medicine Award, presented to the graduating student who has shown the most commitment to geriatric medicine, was given to two recipients, Gina Fujikami and Priscilla Yee.

Ashley Ono was presented The Terry C.Y. Wong, MD Memorial Award. Established in 2004 in memory of Dr. Wong, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, it recognizes the student who demonstrates academic excellence in internal medicine and a spirit of patient advocacy.

The Yazawa Family Endowed Award was presented to Cindy Ta. It was established by Dr. Keijiro and Mrs. Kayoko Yazawa in 2000, to honor the student who demonstrates financial need and is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.

The Aloha Award, given by the Office of Student Affairs, also went to Cindy Ta. The award recognizes the senior who most personifies the Aloha spirit.

The Kaiser-Permanente Excellence in Teaching Awards were presented to one outstanding teacher in the first and second year pre-clinical subjects and one outstanding teacher in clinical subjects. The Kaiser-Permanente Pre-clinical Award was presented to Dr. Richard Kasuya, Professor of Medicine. The Kaiser-Permanente Clinical Award was given to Dr. Emilio Ganitano, Assistant Professor of Medicine.

Dr. Richard Kasuya, Professor of Medicine, was also recognized with the John M. Hardman, MD Award for Mentoring in Teaching. It is presented to a professor selected by all students within the medical school and is given to the faculty member who best emulates Dr. Hardman‘s passion, grace, and devotion to foster the students‘ intellectual, professional, and personal growth.

The generosity of four kamaʻaina families and a foundation was also highlighted. These families‘ and foundation‘s philanthropic gifts provided several scholarships to medical students throughout their four years of study. The E. E. Black Scholarships, the Nadine Alexander Kahanamoku Scholarships, the Wanda Jane Pavela Scholarships, the Weinman Fellowhips and the John A. Burns Foundation Scholarships for Entering Medical Students provided $555,736 of financial awards to 60 medical students in 2008. Thirteen of those students received their MD degrees at commencement on May 18, 2008.

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