FACULTY SPOTLIGHT: Dr. Haning elected to addiction medicine society, will represent 14 states

Dr. William Haning has been elected to a four-year term as a Director of the American Society of Addiction Medicine. In addition to Hawai`i, he will represent Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Dr. Haning is tenured Professor, Associate Chair for Education, and the Residency Program Director for the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) Department of Psychiatry at the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa.

“I started this journey into medicine as a surgical orderly, in Laos in 1970,” Dr. Haning replied, when asked about what motivated him to pursue a degree at JABSOM. The journey has taken him through emergency medicine, addiction medicine, and psychiatry, to clinical service and teaching and research and administration.

“I did not expect to receive my present role and I regard it as an undeserved gift, Dr. Haning said. “This is pretty much how I also view my mate, as an undeserved gift; but I’m not giving her back.”

Bill Haning and Libby Char

Bill Haning and Libby Char

Dr. Haning, a graduate of Punahou School and a member of JABSOMʻs first-ever 4-year medical doctor class (1975), is President of the JABSOM Alumni Association and a member of the Board of the University of Hawai`i Alumni Association. He lives in Mānoa with that “mate”—his wife—Dr. Elizabeth Char, also a JABSOM MD graduate. “Libby” as he and most everyone calls her, serves JABSOM as Assistant Clinical Professor (Surgery), is the past Director of the Honolulu Emergency Services Department, the current Medical Director of American Medical Response, and President of Hawai`iʻs American Heart Association chapter.

Dr. Haning is certified in Psychiatry, Addiction Psychiatry, and Addiction Medicine and has received teaching awards including the APA’s Nancy C.A. Roeske Certificate and the University of Hawai`i Regents Medal. He has chaired a number of community service boards including for the Life Foundation and the Hawai’i Program for Healthcare Professionals. The past Force Surgeon for U.S. Marine Forces Pacific, and for Marine Forces Central Command in Operation Iraqi Freedom, he also served as the Division Psychiatrist, 4th Marine Division. A Captain in the Navy Reserve, he transferred to the Retired Reserve in 2010. His awards include the Legion of Merit.

When asked about what inspires him, the multi-tasking MD replies that itʻs people. “It is not difficult to find people around me who provide inspiration. The list is a generous one. My father, my kid sister, my parents-in-law, Dr. Libby Char, friends and previous mates, including many who died in the AIDS epidemic or of substance use, Dr. Ed Cadman, Sir William Osler, Randy Shilts, Harvey Milk, Barack Obama, who astonishes me almost daily, Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith and William Griffith Wilson,” said Haning.

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