VIDEO: MD Gather to Re-Connect at Reunion 2012

Dean: “Welcome to the 2012 reunion of the John A. Burns School of Medicine!”

Narrator: And what a reunion it was. Under a transcendent rainbow on the grounds of the medical school at Kaka’ako, there were hundreds of alumni.

Carla Nip-Sakamoto, MD, Class of 1988/2012 Reunion Chair:“It’s an amazing turnout we went in a matter of 4 weeks from about a hundred attendees to tonight’s turnout of 350 people and maybe a few more that checked in later this evening. “

Narrator: They dined on some of Honolulu’s finest food, prepared by Chef Rodney Uyehara. And they gathered in groups big and small to laugh, and through snapshots to travel back in time.

Dr. Eric Matayoshi, Class of 1982: “We were first year medical students and I had long hair (laughter).”

Kheng See Ang, MD/Class of 1982: “You know actually today one of my classmates brought our first-year pictures and it was unbelievable we look like kids. It brought back a lot of nice memories. It’s something that is hard to describe, you have this very heartwarming feeling you see your old classmates you haven’t seen for 20 or 30 years.”

(Pointing to pictures) Dr. Eric Matayoshi: “Gynecologist at Kapi’olani, Internal medicine at Maui Kaiser. He’s internal medicine family practice in the Big Island.”

Narrator: They came from all islands and then some. Ten states and two countries, from New York to Palau. All here to do what the reunion organizers suggested: to reconnect.

Kevin Dawson, MD, Class of 2000: “It’s good that it’s a multi-year reunion so it’s not just your class that you’re seeing, but you’re seeing all your teachers and all your mentors and the people who were in class above and below you. “

Cedric Akau, MD Class of 1983: “We are so happy to be here today at our Alma Mater, the John A. Burns School of Medicine. We would like to just share a few songs with you as we travel through the islands today.”

Narrator: Even the entertainers were MD alumni.

(Na Leo Kauka sing:) “They say that Maui no kaoi, and I agree that Maui no kaoi is the only place for me.”)

Narrator: The school cafeteria was transformed into a cozy living room where brand-new graduates shared news, while looking out on a vista where old friends exchanged stories, too. Many stopped to chat with Mary Judd. Senior luaus were held for decades in her Windward O’ahu backyard. And guess what? Those former seniors are still dancing today.

(Music with Hula being performed)

Narrator: They are well into their careers as doctors. But they remember their steps and they never forget their roots.

Hingson Chun, MD, Class of 1987: “I think I didn’t appreciate it at the time I attended medical school because I was a UH graduate, I’m from Hawai`i, it was sort of natural. But now that I’ve been in practice for 20 years and been around the country, I think the types of physicians who set up shop in your community are really hit or miss. And the switch costs to move a family or a physician to or from Hawaii are quite high–not to mention the failure costs if things don’t work out is very costly. So if you ask yourself how can we assure a really good quality, reliable pool of physicians to take care of our people the medical school is, in retrospect, probably the single best thing that ever happened.”

Narrator: Inside the medical education building, our newest students led alumni to the high tech patient simulation center. Student performance at JABSOM has never been better.

Dean Jerris Hedges, MD/JABSOM: “Problem-based learning is going strong and we have had excellent results, for the 8th year in a row exceeding the national average on our USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Exam, Step 1) scores.”

Narrator: The Kaka’ako campus opened in 2005, but the school was founded on the Manoa campus back in 1965.

(Music with “The Dancing Docs”)

Narrator: “The Dancing Docs”—the alumni event’s headline entertainers — included graduates from as far back as 1971 wearing electric colors and moving to vintage music.

From the late 60’s to now —no matter their class year, the alumni agreed that the education they got at JABSOM was second to none.

Dr. Ang: ”I think UH can stand against any school in the mainland. And I’m always grateful for the education I had here.”

Narrator: Several alums called upon their classmates to support the school for the opportunities they had and to offer the same chance for personal success and excellent patient care to generations ahead.

Dr. Chun: “I would encourage our alumni to consider at the time they attended the medical school and what they received from the medical school and where they are now they’ve certainly benefitted greatly from their years and I would think in their heart of hearts they would want to see the school continue.”

Dean Hedges: “We are very proud of all of you, you have represented the school well and you have not only done well for yourselves but you have created opportunity for local students.”

Dr. Dawson: “Come next year. It’s really fun, we’ll see you here.”

(More music, and applause.)

(Text on screen) To reconnect contact: The John A. Burns School of Medicine Alumni Office. Call (808) 692-0991 or email

Story written and narrated by Tina Shelton. Video editing by Ken Mashiyama with Tina Shelton. Videography: Stuart Ishikawa. Mahalo to the 2012 JABSOM MD Alumni Reunion Committee and the JABSOM 5-0 Committee!