Who better to help recruit and select Hawai’i’s most promising students for medical school than a former high school teacher? Ivy Nip Asano, the new Assistant Director of Admissions for the the John A. Burns School of Medicine, (JABSOM) eventually left the high school classroom to go to medical school, but she never really stopped teaching.
After graduating from JABSOM in 1994, Dr. Nip Asano pursued Internal Medicine in her residency training (also in Hawai’i), then completed a fellowship—a period of highly specialized instruction—which focused on medical education.
During her residency and fellowship training, her passion to teach medicine was ignited. The flame was fanned, in no small part, Asano says, by her interaction with Internal Medicine physicians Dr. Richard Kasuya (now JABSOM Associate Dean for Medical Education) and Dr. Damon Sakai (now JABSOM Director of Medical Education), two JABSOM graduates who became her mentors.
In 2000, while maintaining a busy medical practice, Dr. Nip Asano joined JABSOMʻs faculty as a part-time assistant professor. Now, after more than a decade juggling teaching and treating patients, Nip Asano has followed her heart back into education full-time. On November 1, she assumed a brand-new position, appointed as JABSOMʻs first-ever Assistant Director of Admissions. She is working closely with Admissions Director and JABSOM Vice Dean Satoru Izutsu, PhD.
“Ivy brings to the position a wealth of experiences that include providing patient care, tutoring in Problem-Based Learning (the medical school’s innovative hands-on curriculum) and interviewing applicants to JABSOM,” said Izutsu, who has lead admissions since 1992.
Nip Asano also brings three years of experience volunteering on the school’s admissions committee, and even more important, a deep committment to select “the best, not just the brightest…to seek out those ‘intangible qualities’ in applicants”, she says.
“As was stated at the recent JABSOM strategic planning retreat, “why not measure our success by the overall health of our state?”, Nip Asano asks. She readily acknowledges contributing to the betterment of the health of our state is a big responsibility. But she has confidence in one overall rule which she says will guide her. “We will select the people who will be caring for us. For me, my family, for you, for our families–not just the abstract concept of the best physician for the world–but the best for us in Hawai’i.”
She notes with a smile that in addition to being guided by Izutsu, she will be working with JABSOM’s Registrar Marilyn Nishiki (who has served as Registrar since 1989), as well as with Dr. Kasuya, Dr. Sakai, Dr. Richard Smerz, Director of Student Affairs, and under the leadership of JABSOM Dean Jerris Hedges. “It’s always a team effort here in JABSOM and it continues to be,” Nip Asano said.
“We are thrilled to announce Dr. Nip Asano’s appointment,” said Dr. Hedges. “Dr. Nip Asano stood out among a strong pool of individuals who we considered for this position, and we are confident she will bring great value to our already strong admissions team.”
Asano, Izutsu and other members of the Admissions Committee already are busy interviewing applicants for the incoming Class of 2016. In a typical year, more than 1,600 men and women apply for JABSOM’s entering class, which currently has space for 66 students. Further, some 250 of those applicants are interviewed in person each year. About 90 percent of the applicants admitted will be from Hawai’i, in keeping with the school’s mission to train doctors for Hawai’i. The kind of doctor, as Nip Asano says, who will advocate for his or her patients as though they were family.
In addition to her medical doctor degree, Nip Asano holds a Master of Arts in Teaching and Education from Pacific University. Her father, George H. Nip, MD, practiced as a general surgeon in Hawai’i for more than 50 years, and served on JABSOM’s clinical faculty.