Visionary medical school leader Ed Cadman dies at age 70

Edwin Cadman
Edwin Cadman

Dr. Edwin Cadman, former dean of University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM), died on Wednesday morning, September 23 at the age of 70. Cadman was surrounded by his family in Corvallis, Oregon. Many people across Hawaiʻi will join the JABSOM ʻohana in mourning his loss.

Cadman arrived at Hawaiʻi’s medical school at a critical time in 1999, leaving his post as chief of staff and senior vice president of medical affairs at Yale New Haven Hospital for a much bigger challenge.

Cadman inspired faculty and students to be the best medical school in the world with an Asia-Pacific focus and led JABSOM’s physical and academic renaissance. “We must really believe that we can become great,” said Cadman. And the John A. Burns School of Medicine has—this year being recognized as the 19th best medical school in the country in primary care by U.S. News and World Report.

“Ed Cadman’s contribution to UH and Hawaiʻi can’t be overestimated,” said UH President David Lassner. “His vision and commitment helped bring to fruition our beautiful Kakaʻako campus and a medical school with a strong research program that contributes to improved healthcare for everyone in Hawaiʻi every day.”

In 2005, Cadman stepped down as dean after learning that he suffered from Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA), a rare degenerative condition that robs those it strikes of the ability to articulate thoughts in speech or writing. There is no cure for PPA. Cadman retired on October 31, 2009.

“As the driving force behind the creation of the new facilities in Kakaʻako, Dean Cadman envisioned a school that in only five years under his leadership would experience unprecedented growth in biomedical research,” said Jerris Hedges, who succeeded Cadman as dean of JABSOM. “I was honored to follow his lead and to build on the contributions to the medical school that were made by him and others who came before him.”

Cadman is survived by his mother Gloria Wilson, his wife Mary Cadman, three brothers, three sons and four grandchildren.

The Cadman family requests that those who want to make a donation in Dr. Cadman’s honor do so by contributing to the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation’s Dr. Edwin C. Cadman Endowed Fund for the study of Neurodegenerative Disorders.

For more, read the John A. Burns School of Medicine story.