John A. Burns School of Medicine
651 Ilalo Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
Tel: (808) 692-0899/0881
Fax: (808) 692-1247

Dean: Jerris R. Hedges, MD, MS, MMM
Interim Associate Dean of Academic Affairs: Lee BuenconsejoLum, MD, FAAFP
Associate Dean of Research: Mariana Gersenenson, PhD

General Information

The John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) strives to improve the quality, effectiveness, and equity of health care delivery in Hawai‘i and the Pacific region. The school provides opportunity for qualified residents of Hawai‘i and the Pacific Islands, including students from various underrepresented socioeconomic and minority groups to qualify for an MD degree; provides MD graduates with competency to enter postgraduate programs; and provides residency training programs with emphasis on primary-care specialties.

  1. The school also administers graduate research and professional programs that lead to MS and PhD degrees in the basics medical sciences and health-related fields; MS degree in Communications Sciences and Disorders; and, BS and a post-baccalaureate certificate in medical technology. Medical school faculty participate in undergraduate courses for majors in nursing, dental hygiene, biology, nutrition, and related fields. In addition, the medical school, in partnership with the Hawai‘i Medical Association and the Hawai‘i Consortium for Continuing Medical Education, sponsors continuing medical education for physicians in the state of Hawai‘i.

The school provides instruction for six major categories of students:

  1. Candidates for the MD degree who are admitted directly by JABSOM’s own admissions committee;
  2. Candidates for MS degrees in biomedical sciences (with concentrations in cell and molecular biology, clinical translational research, developmental and reproductive biology, and tropical medicine), or in communication sciences and disorders apply through the Graduate Division of UH Manoa;
  3. Candidates for PhD degrees in biomedical sciences with concentrations in cell and molecular biology, epidemiology, developmental and reproductive biology, and tropical medicine who apply through Graduate Division of UH Manoa;
  4. Candidates for undergraduate degrees in medical technology, who apply through the UH Manoa Admissions Office; and, in addition, a post-baccalaureate certificate for medical technology clinical training is offered.

The Kaka‘ako Waterfront Complex

In 2005, the John A. Burns School of Medicine relocated to a new 9.898 acre site in Kaka‘ako, on the water’s edge, between Waikîkî and downtown Honolulu. The school’s previous location, the 43-year-old Biomedical Sciences building on the Manoa campus, continues to be occupied by the Department of Medical Technology, and by various research units. The school complex functions as an economic engine for the state that will create quality employment opportunities, increase biomedical research activity, and be a stimulus for the biotechnical industry in Hawai‘i.

Target areas of research, which include innovations in problem-based learning medical education, are retrovirology/infectious diseases/AIDS, molecular biology/genetics/ neuroscience, genomic medicine, proteomics, and bioinformatics/computational biology.

The campus includes an incubator center (leasable research space) to provide biotechnology and bioscience companies a campus-like environment enabling collaboration with academic researchers. A major medical research center, with surrounding space for such companies, as well as Honolulu’s technology infrastructure and ties to Asia and the Pacific, will make the city of Honolulu a prime environment for the growing technology and biomedical research industries.

The school is accredited by the Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME) of the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Residency and Fellowship Programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

Additionally, all civilian postgraduate medical education programs in Hawai‘i hospitals are accredited as UH John A. Burns School of Medicine-sponsored residency programs by the ACGME. Approximately 250 physicians (employees of Hawai‘i Residency Programs, Inc.) within 14 training programs serve as house staff members in these hospitals under the direction of medical school faculty from eight clinical departments. Oversight is provided by the Designated Institutional Official (DIO). Continuing Medical Education (CME) programs are accredited by the Hawai‘i Consortium for Continuing Medical Education (HCCME), a liaison committee between the Hawai‘i Medical Association and JABSOM, Medical Technology (MEDT) and Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) are accredited by National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences and American Speech-Language-Hearing Association respectively.


The school maintains affiliations with facilities for medical student and resident clinical training that include the following: Castle Medical Center, Hawai‘i State Hospital, Hilo Medical Center, Kalihi-Palama Health Center, Kaiser Permenente Moanalua Medical Center & Clinic, Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children, Kapiolani Medical Center at Pali Momi, Kokua Kalihi Valley Health Center, Kuakini Health Systems, Leahi Hospital, Maui Memorial Medical Center, The Queen’s Medical Center, Queen Emma Clinics, Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific, Shriners Hospital for Children, Spark Matsunaga VA Medical Center, Straub Clinic and Hospital, Tripler Army Medical Center, Wahiawa General Hospital, and The Physician Center.


Bachelor’s Degrees: BS in medical technology

Master’s Degrees: MS in biomedical sciences (cell and molecular biology, developmental and reproductive biology, and tropical medicine); MS in clinical and translational research; MS in communication sciences and disorders

Professional Degree: MD

Doctoral Degrees: PhD in biomedical sciences (cell and molecular biology, and tropical medicine); PhD in developmental and reproductive biology


Premedical advising is available through the Pre-Health/PreLaw Advising Center, Sinclair Library 108.

Academic Policies

Undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Medicine must adhere to the academic policies of UH Manoa. Medical students are exempted from certain UH Manoa policies and instead must follow academic policies germane to the MD program. Copies of relevant policies are available in JABSOM’s Office of Student Affairs.

MD Program

The MD program follows a problem-based curriculum, which was implemented in fall 1989 and includes the following key features: knowledge is acquired in problem-based modules; self-directed learning is fostered in small group tutorials; students are involved actively in the learning process, not simply passive recipients of information; the small group leaders function as facilitators of learning; content experts function as resources to the learning process; laboratory exercises, demonstrations, the library and audiovisual-computer centers supplement faculty input; basic sciences are learned primarily in the context of solving clinical problems; students are trained to think critically and to evaluate new information and research data; and evaluation of students is based on competence in a variety of problem-solving exercises.

The learning activities in the first two years of the curriculum take place in the school’s state-of-the-art Medical Education Building and in community health sites. The advanced clinical instruction that constitutes the bulk of the second two years of instruction takes place in affiliated community hospitals and clinics.

Admission Requirements/Application Process

Candidates for MD training must complete a minimum of 90 college-level semester credit hours of which the following specific science coursework is required for entry into the MD curriculum.

  • 8 semester credit hours of biology with lab
  • 8 semester credit hours of general physics with lab
  • 8 semester credit hours of general chemistry with lab
  • 8 semester credit hours of organic chemistry with lab
  • 3 semester credit hours of biochemistry (no lab required)
  • 3 semester credit hours of cell and molecular biology (no lab required)

Each course should be acceptable for students majoring in the above science disciplines. Additional enrichment in the biological and social sciences is encouraged. Applicants must also be fully competent in reading, speaking, and writing the English language.

Applicants are required to apply through the American Medical Colleges Application Service (AMCAS). The service permits an applicant to file a single web-based application, which is forwarded to participating medical schools as designated on the AMCAS application. AMCAS will implement a criminal background check on applicants applying to medical schools. The AMCAS application is available from June 1 at the AMCAS website: The deadline to transmit the application to AMCAS is November 1 for regular admission (EST) or August 1 (EST) for Early Decision and Doctor of Medicine Early Acceptance Program Students.

Applicants must also take the nationally administered Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), which deals with knowledge of the biological and biochemical foundations of living systems; chemical and physical foundations of biological systems; psychological, social, and biological foundations of behavior; and critical analysis and reasoning skills. MCAT must be taken within three years of an applicant’s anticipated matriculation to medical school. The latest MCATs screened or re-screened in the admissions process is September of the year of application (May for Early Decision).

Applicants who achieve the required screening cut-off points will be requested to submit additional materials and invited for interviews. 72 JABSOM participants in the AAMC-facilitated Criminal Background Check Service and MD candidates are accepted to the entering first-year class.

Inquiries regarding admissions should be directed to the Office of Admissions, John A. Burns School of Medicine, 651 Ilalo Street, MEB 3rd floor, Honolulu, HI 96813 or via email Further information may be obtained on the web at

Honors and Awards

Alpha Omega Alpha is the honorary society for medical students.

Graduate Medical Education Programs

Graduate medical education programs in Hawai‘i hospitals are in family medicine, sports medicine, internal medicine, geriatric medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, orthopaedic surgery, pathology, pediatrics, neonatal-perinatal medicine, psychiatry (adult, child and adolescent, geriatric, addiction), general surgery, surgical critical care, and addition medicine. The UH John A. Burns School of Medicine is the institutional sponsor for these residency training programs, which includes approximately 230 physicians working under the supervision of JABSOM faculty in the affiliated hospitals while studying their chosen specialty.

The medical school also conducts a graduate medical education program at Chubu Hospital in Okinawa for graduates of Japanese medical schools.

Graduate Programs

Refer to the department/program sections of the Catalog for more information on each graduate program. Note: Information on the clinical translational research program is listed under the Department of Complementary and Integrative Medicine and information on the cell and molecular biology graduate program is located in the “Interdisciplinary Programs” section of the Catalog.

Graduate program inquiries should be directed to the appropriate program chair. General information is available on the web at ed-programs/masters-phd/.

Biomedical Sciences

Cell and Molecular Biology
Michelle Tallquist, PhD
Phone: (808) 692-1579

Marla Berry, PhD
Phone: (808) 692-1506
Web: cmbgrad.jabsom

Clinical and Translational Research
Katalin Csiszar, PhD
John J. Chen, PhD
Phone: (808) 692-1840
Web: msctr.jabsom

Developmental and Reproductive Biology
Monika A. Ward, PhD
Phone: (808) 956-0779

Tropical Medicine
Sandra Chang, PhD
Phone: (808) 692-1607

Communication Sciences and Disorders

Henry Lew, MD, PhD, CCC-A
Phone: (808)692-1582

Undergraduate Programs

For information on medical technology, refer to the respective section of the Catalog.

Special Programs

Hawai‘i/Pacific Basin Area Health Education Center (AHEC)

The Hawai‘i/Pacific Basin Area Health Education Center (AHEC) supports health professions training experiences in rural and under-served areas of Hawai‘i and the U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands (Guam, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Republic of Palau, and Federated States of Micronesia). Training experiences can be preceptorships, clerkships, electives, cultural immersion experiences, or interprofessional training experiences such as the Rural Health Training Initiative in collaboration with the VA. AHEC supports continuity of rural training for students wishing to perform training experiences in a particular rural or under-served area during multiple years of their training. AHEC staff perform and support health careers recruitment programs across the state, support use of video teleconferencing for health education purposes, and hold the Hawai‘i Health Workforce Summit every September. Finally, AHEC is conducting a statewide physician workforce assessment and students can participate in studying aspects of the workforce, such as migration patterns and use of telehealth.

AHEC is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration. The federal mandate is to improve the diversity, distribution, and quality of the health professions workforce. The mission of Hawai‘i/Pacific Basin AHEC is: To improve the health of the under-served through education. Activities focus on four primary areas: 1) Health education and recruitment to health professions for students across the region from kindergarten through college; 2) Educating health professions students in rural and under-served areas, often in interdisciplinary teams; 3) Recruitment, retention, and continuing education of practicing health professionals in medically under-served areas; and 4) Providing video connectivity for health education, communication, and other health care services to rural and under-served areas across the state through methodologies such as Project ECHO. Contact Dr. Kelley Withy for more information at withy@hawaii., (808) 692-1060.

Overseas Programs

The school plays an extensive training role at locations outside Hawai‘i and expects that its involvement in the Pacific and Asia regions will continue. In the scattered islands of Micronesia, the school has trained medical officers (MOs) and physician assistants to bring primary care to a widely dispersed population. The curricula were relevant to the clinical and community health needs of the Pacific Basin. Graduates of the MO program received a Diploma in Community Health, Medicine, and Surgery. Training of other health professionals in the Pacific Basin area continues. On Okinawa, the school conducts a residency training program for graduates of Japanese medical schools. This program is financed by the Okinawa prefectural government. The school conducts a medical student exchange program with affiliated medical schools and hospitals in Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, Australia, and New Zealand.