UH Medical School Receives $196,000 from Freeman Foundation

Award to support medical education outreach in Asia

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Gordon Greene, (808) 956-9984
Associate Director
Kristen Cabral, (808) 956-5039
Public Information Officer
Posted: Oct 11, 2002

The Freeman Foundation of New York and Stowe, Vermont, with an office at the East-West Center in Honolulu, has recently announced an award of $196,000 to the Office of Medical Education in the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM). The award was made in support of the Office‘s international programs in medical education as they help further the Freeman Foundation‘s goal of "strengthening the bonds of friendship between this country and the countries of the Far East."

"This award helps to build and reinforce a network of medical schools in East Asia with ties to Hawaiʻi. If that network develops properly, it could eventually be a stimulus to joint projects in medical research and medical education," said JABSOM Dean Ed Cadman.

The School of Medicine at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa has a long history of involvement in the training of physicians and health care providers in the Pacific Basin and Asia. In recent years, the school has focused on supporting innovations in medical education in the countries of East Asia. In 1997, under the leadership of Leslie Tam, PhD, and Satoru Izutsu, PhD, the Office of Medical Education began working with a new medical school in Korea seeking to build upon the problem-based learning (PBL) curriculum used at JABSOM. Since then, efforts have expanded to more than a dozen schools in Taiwan, Korea and Japan. To date, more than 250 medical students and faculty have come to Hawaiʻi for intensive training in JABSOM‘s educational methods and even more have been exposed through workshops and demonstrations by Hawaiʻi faculty and students at their own schools in Asia.

JABSOM is currently one of only a handful of schools in the nation to convert its curriculum to a PBL format. Adapted from McMaster University in Canada, PBL marks a profound reshaping of the entire learning process, one that is much better suited to training the high-quality physicians of the future. The primary objective of PBL is to accumulate the concepts and facts of medicine in a clinical context, basing the need to know on relevant problems. Students are trained to think critically, to evaluate new information and research data, and apply their new knowledge to the problem at hand. They become actively involved in the learning process, and are not simply passive recipients of information.

This grant will help reinforce JABSOM‘s basic model for fostering educational innovation. Such efforts involve a consulting relationship with the senior administrators of the schools, providing faculty training in education, and exchanging students so that the momentum for change is reinforced in several dimensions.

"It provides numerous opportunities for Hawaiʻi medical students to visit other countries and to gain an intimate view of their healthcare systems. And, for all of us, it helps to reinforce an attitude that in areas of health and disease, there are few meaningful borders any longer between Hawaiʻi, the rest of the United States and the rest of the world," Cadman said.

This new grant will help support a number of new initiatives, including:

Exchange of medical students with a new medical school in Taiwan, a new medical school in Korea, and a national medical school in Japan that are each adapting JABSOM‘s PBL curriculum for their own uses.

Consulting on the re-design of a residency-training program in a well-respected Tokyo hospital.

Developing educational activities for the newly formed Asia Medical Education Society, a consortium primarily of medical schools within China.

Continuing to strengthen a network of medical schools in Asia and the United States working toward educational innovation. These efforts include expanding JABSOM‘s series of educational faculty workshops in Hawaiʻi.