Medical school's OB-GYN faculty create endowment with $500,000 gift

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Margot Schrire, (808) 956-6774
Director of Communications, UH Foundation
Posted: Jan 29, 2016

From left, Kosasa, Vuchinich, Ellis, Sharma, Hedges and Zalud.
From left, Kosasa, Vuchinich, Ellis, Sharma, Hedges and Zalud.

“This remarkable gift is a testament to the critical role our department plays in training our future obstetricians/gynecologists and women’s health specialists, and in advancing the health of women, fetuses, infants and families in Hawai‘i and the Pacific Basin.”

Dr. Ivica Zalud, Chair, Department of OB-GYN & Women’s Health

Faculty of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health (OB-GYN) at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) are involved in nearly a third of the births in Hawai‘i each year. Many of these physicians practice medicine through the University Health Partners of Hawaiʻi (UHP), which is JABSOM’s faculty practice plan.

JABSOM UHP faculty made history on December 21, 2015, when they announced, at their holiday celebration, the largest philanthropic investment in JABSOM to date by faculty. Using its professional service collections, the team donated $500,000 to create an endowment. On January 28, 2016, the UH Board of Regents approved the Endowed Professorship in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health at JABSOM.

Shared Chip Ellis, University Health Partners’ Chief Financial Officer, “The OB-GYN faculty decided to make a gift with their earnings, and the UHP Board voted unanimously to support this endowment.  The creation of the Department of OB-GYN Professorship is an ideal collaboration between the department and the faculty practice plan. We know that this endowment will have great outcomes. It will help the department attract, support and retain talented faculty who will give back to Hawai‘i immeasurably. The endowment will also provide critical resources for faculty development and enhance the research, education, and community outreach missions of the department.”

Stated JABSOM Dean Jerris Hedges, “This is a very important gift for us. It is a powerful demonstration of how deeply the OB-GYN faculty believe in and support their department. They know that by investing in themselves they can do more to serve Hawai‘i’s families. A gift of this magnitude will help ensure the future success of the department.”

“Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women & Children is proud of our partnership with the faculty of the John A. Burns School of Medicine, which enables us to provide the specialized maternity care that our hospital is recognized for,” said Kapi‘olani CEO Martha Smith. “This endowment demonstrates their commitment to the health of Hawai‘i’s women and children, and we are very grateful for their continued support and collaboration in providing quality patient care.”

This gift comes on the heels of two other major philanthropic investments from Dr. Santosh Sharma and the Kosasa family.

Said Donna Vuchinich, president and CEO of the University of Hawai‘i Foundation, “These gifts signal a growing recognition that private support is critical to ensuring long-term departmental success. We are most grateful to these important donors who are making such a difference for Hawai‘i.”

About University Health Partners of Hawaiʻi (UHP)

  • University Health Partners of Hawaiʻi is the faculty practice plan of the John A. Burns School of Medicine and is aimed to support the educational, research and community service activities of JABSOM
  • The practice plan includes several hundred participating physicians.
  • UHP (formerly known as UCERA) among others provides OB-GYN coverage for multiple hospitals in Hawai‘i including Kapi‘olani  Medical Center, Queen’s Medical Center and Pali Momi Medical Center.
  • UHP physicians are on the front line every day, working hard to provide the best care to women facing complications and high-risk pregnancies. This dedicated group also provides essential services to many under-insured patients in Hawai‘i.
  • In addition to directly serving Hawai‘i’s families, the UH Department of Obstetrics-Gynecology & Women's Health creates its clinical learning environment for medical students, residents & fellows through its UHP practice, giving students the robust real world experience they need.

To find out how you can support the students and programs at JABSOM, please contact Elaine Evans at (808) 692-0991 or You can also make a gift online at

(Full photo caption:  In front, from left, are Dr. Thomas Kosasa, Donna Vuchinich, Dr. Santosh Sharma and Dr. Ivica Zalud. In back are Chip Ellis and Dean Jerris Hedges.


The John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) at the University of Hawaiʻi honors its unique research environment to excel in science-based efforts to eliminate diseases that disproportionately affect people in Hawaiʻi and the Pacific region. U.S. News & World Report ran​k​ed JABSOM among the top 20 medical schools in the country in Primary Care for 2016​​.  Annually at JABSOM, more than 600 students or trainees are learning medicine, practicing medicine under our supervision or seeking biomedical science degrees.

The University of Hawai‘i Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawai‘i System. The mission of the University of Hawai‘i Foundation is to unite donors’ passions with the University of Hawai‘i’s aspirations by raising philanthropic support and managing private investments to benefit UH, the people of Hawai‘i and our future generations.

For more information, visit: