SLIDESHOW! Hundreds of MD ALUMNI “return home” to JABSOM to re-connect at reunion event

The John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) Alumni Association reserved places for more than 350 MD alumni and guests, and the turnout was terrific at Saturdayʻs reunion as event-goers huddled “under the stars” — and sometimes under a tent — at the Kaka`ako campus. Yes, there were a few showers, but many people in attendance commented the rain was “a blessing”. Indeed, the sprinkles were accompanied by a bright, sky-filling rainbow at the beginning of the program as a prayer was led by Dr. Kalani Brady of the medical school’s Department of Native Hawaiian Health.

Near and far
Our alums came from far and wide. The off-island attendees included MD grads from Maui, Hawai`i Island, Palau, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, Oregon, Washington State, California and Nevada. At least one of the out-of-state attendees said she is actively looking for an opportunity to return home to practice. And our in-state physicians–born, bred and educated at here at home–really showed up in force.

There are plenty of alums practicing in Hawai`i, of course. More than 3/4 of the “Best Doctors in Hawai`i” identified this year in a national survey are JABSOM alumni and/or faculty. And 90% of our incoming class, as always, are Hawai`i residents. One of this year’s “Best Doctors” is Honolulu dermatologist Dr. Kevin Dawson (Class of 2000), who finds he runs into our graduates all the time.

“I actually find that day-to-day, I interact with fellow JABSOM grads every single day during my work,” said Dr. Dawson. “And I have noticed that more of our post MD grads who must go away for specialty training (as Dawson had to, to perform his dermatology residency in Buffalo, NY) are coming home afterwards,” Dawson added. Dean Jerris Hedges has focused new energy into building our graduate (post-MD) education opportunities, so with support from the state and our training partners (Hawai’i hospitals and clinics), it is hoped that more of our home-grown talent will have the choice to stay throughout their studies rather than having to continue training afar as they begin their careers as MDs.

Food, beverage and recollections
But back to the reunion! The food by Chef Rodney Uyehara was sublime, the wine stations from the HASR Wine Company and the conversation settings, including a “living room” inside Kūlia Grill–were festive and the talented “Na Leo Kauka” — the musical MDs — set the perfect tone by performing Kuiokalani Lee’s “I’ll Remember You.” Of course, the tunes by “Soul Patrol” brought back memories and none of us will ever forget the lively and colorful numbers by the “Dancing Docs.”

Best of all, the aloha voiced by Dean Jerris Hedges was echoed by scores of alumni who were so excited about the power of renewing their ‘ohana ties that they were already insisting on a reunion next year, and talking about what additional features they would like the party to have.

Kevin Dawson, MD, (Class of 2000), who was already chatting via FaceBook with friends while attending the event, predicted many more MDs would hear about the reunion and make sure that they don’t miss re-connect activities in the future.

The Alumni Association has more planned, to be sure, as the JABSOM 5-0 Committee led by Dr. Carla Nip-Sakamoto prepares for the 50th anniversary of JABSOM’s founding in 2015.

Dr. Dawson, one of our many graduates who finished medical school before the Kaka’ako campus complex opened in 2005,  said it was thrilling to have a chance to take a look at the new campus in a relaxed fashion at the alumni gathering, since busy, usually self-employed docs don’t always have a lot of time to make a separate trip for a tour.

Hana hou
Stay tuned to our UHMEDNow site, as we will post video and more photographs from the reunion. And don’t forget, alums can post their own pictures on our JABSOM Facebook page — or just by sending them to, with caption information. Tina Shelton, Communications Director, will be glad to share the images.

Mahalo to our MD student volunteers and all of our fabulous alums for making the JABSOM 2012 Re-Connect such a success!

Mahalo to Arnold Kameda, our chief event photographer.
Story by Tina Shelton.
Click here to see or download 2012 Alumni Reunion photos on Flickr!


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