GERIATRIC MEDICINE: Drs. Masaki and Bell are Newly Endowed Professors

Dean Jerris Hedges has announced the inaugural recipients of the Victor and Peggy Brandstrom Pavel Endowed Professorships in Medicine in the Department of Geriatric Medicine.The two new endowed professors are Kamal Masaki, MD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Geriatric Medicine, and Christina Bell, MD, PhD, Associate Professor and Director of the Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Program.

These two professorships were made possible through the generosity of Victor and Margaret (Peggy) Pavel. Their transformational $10 million estate gift to benefit several programs at the University of Hawai`i included $1.88 million to create endowed professorships in medicine at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM), with a preference for Geriatric Medicine.


“This gift will help us support two faculty members on an ongoing basis who will contribute to both training and research in geriatric medicine. Expertise in geriatric medicine is very important for Hawai‘i as we have one of the oldest populations in the U.S.,” said Dr. Jerris Hedges, dean, JABSOM. “We know that as we age, a variety of conditions can develop. Having faculty who are focused on understanding the physiology of aging, and how to work hand-in-hand with the patient to have healthy aging, is really a key part of our training program,” Hedges continued. “We have a wonderful teaching program, and are doing some phenomenal research in geriatrics and work in the community. This gift will greatly enhance our ability to build our training and research programs and better serve Hawai‘i’s people.”


Healthy aging is a goal of the Department of Geriatric Medicine. Arnold Kameda photo.

Healthy aging is a goal of the Department of Geriatric Medicine. Arnold Kameda photo.


About Dr. Masaki
Kamal Masaki, MD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Geriatric Medicine, was one of the first graduates of the UH Fellowship Program in Geriatric Medicine. She has been on faculty in the department since 1991 and is board certified in Internal Medicine and Geriatric Medicine. She served as Program Director of the Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Program from 2004-2012, as Acting Department Chair from 2008-2011, and was appointed Department Chair in 2011. Dr. Masaki’s research and teaching track record is extensive and includes being part of a research team focused on chronic disease epidemiology in the elderly. Dr. Masaki has served as clinical director of the Honolulu-Asia Aging Study, Honolulu Heart Program, The Women’s Health Initiative, and numerous other related studies for the past 23 years. In addition, she has co-authored more than 200 manuscripts, the majority of which have been published in national peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Masaki continues to actively teach at all levels, particularly in the Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Program, and is responsible for all curricula in Geriatric Medicine and Palliative Medicine for UH medical students, residency programs, allied health students and professionals.

Dr. Masaki notes, “I am honored to be selected as a Victor and Peggy Brandstrom Pavel Endowed Professor in Medicine. We are very grateful to the Pavel family for this extremely generous gift that will help us train the next generation of geriatricians and researchers in aging.”

About Dr. Bell
Dr. Christina Bell, MD, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Geriatric Medicine, has served as the Program Director of the UH Fellowship Program in Geriatric Medicine for the past two years. She earned her undergraduate degree at UH Mānoa and her medical degree at JABSOM. After completing her family medicine residency training on the mainland, she returned to practice medicine in Kea`au, Hawai`i for three years where she witnessed first-hand Hawai`i’s need for physicians trained in Geriatric Medicine. She then completed her Geriatric Medicine Fellowship and a PhD in Clinical Research at UH, and holds Certificates of Added Qualification in Geriatric as well as Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Her achievements include being a primary or co-author on 31 publications, over 40 scientific abstracts and being selected for a five-year Geriatric Academic Career Award from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“Excellent Role Models”
In announcing these inaugural recipients, Dean Hedges noted the selection committee was very impressed by the excellent candidates who applied for the professorship. He continued, “As the first two Victor and Peggy Brandstrom Pavel Endowed Professors, Drs. Masaki and Bell exemplify the quality and depth of leadership we have within our Department of Geriatric Medicine at the John A. Burns School of Medicine. Both are outstanding clinicians and educators who are committed to training the next generation of geriatricians for our community. They are very actively involved in aging research and have published extensively. More importantly, they serve as excellent role models and mentors for our medical students, residents, fellows, and allied health professionals, inspiring them to consider careers in this critically-needed field of medicine.”

Dean Hedges also thanked Mr. Kenneth and Mrs. Nora Uyeda, who have included the Department of Geriatric Medicine in their estate plan as well. Their estate will one day fund the Kenneth Keiso Uyeda and Nora Said Uyeda Endowed Chair in Geriatric Medicine. At that point in time, one of the Pavel professorships will be re-assigned to another deserving faculty member in the department.

More about the Pavels
We invite you to read about Victor and Peggy Brandstrom Pavel’s life and learn about what motivated them to make this phenomenal gift at VICTOR AND PEGGY BRANDSTROM PAVEL

Watch video of Dean Hedges thanking the late donors and sharing the impact of the fund PAVEL MAHALO.

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