Transition at University of Hawai`i Cancer Center

At a meeting of University of Hawai`i Cancer Center faculty on November 21, Cancer Center Director Michele Carbone told his colleagues he will be rejoining the ranks of the center’s faculty to focus on his internationally-recognized cancer work.

“It has been a great privilege to lead the cancer center since December 2008,” said Dr. Carbone. “I am proud of what we have accomplished working together with our faculty, UH leadership, supporters in the community, and with our Consortium partners,” Carbone said.


Dr. Robert Bley-Vroman, UH Mānoa Chancellor

UH Mānoa Chancellor Dr. Robert Bley-Vroman made the announcement at the faculty meeting. “Today I received a letter of resignation from the position of Director of the Cancer Center from Michele Carbone,” said the Chancellor. “Michele would like to go back to the faculty and devote himself to cancer research. In accepting this resignation. I’d like to acknowledge the critical role he has played in developing the cancer center to where it is today. A successful Cancer Center is essential to the health of the people of Hawaii and to the contributions that Hawai`i can make to the world. Under Michele’s leadership we’ve made great progress toward our dream of a world without cancer, through research, education and care. We are now in a great position, thanks to Michele, to do even more. He has made remarkable efforts in brining our cancer center to where it is today, only one of 68 NCI (National Cancer Institute) -designated cancer centers in the most beautiful cancer center building in the country.”

“I’ve appointed Jerris Hedges as acting director effective immediately while we consider the transition. I’d like to extend my personal thanks to Michele for all the work he has done and wish him well in his new faculty position,” said Dr. Bley-Vroman.

John A. Burns School of Medicine Dean Jerris Hedges said, “I am​ accepting this role on behalf of the University to provide stability during the transition. I certainly cannot fulfill the full extent of the leadership Dr. Carbone has provided. He is an internationally renowned scientist; he has helped bring this Cancer Center building to reality. He has recruited many of the Cancer Center scientists; he has reached out to the community to impress upon them the importance of having a National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated facility in Hawai’i. The NCI designation is vital for the continuation of this Cancer Center. I have enjoyed working with Michele as a partner and I hope to be able to continue to help him advance his science.”

“With this transition underway,” said Dr. Hedges, “I will help support this Cancer Center. I thank all of the Cancer Center faculty and staff who work day in and day out to make significant contributions to our community. I hope to be able to provide support in some small measure that continues the strong and stellar efforts that Dr. Carbone has initiated here in the new facility. My role is not to assume the Cancer Center leadership on an ongoing basis, because that’s not my background or training. But for the time being I will serve in executive capacity to continue this good work, and will work with all of the Cancer Center stakeholders to help find a director that will continue the work that has been established by prior directors, and which Dr. Carbone has taken to great levels.”

Dean Jerris Hedges, MD

Dean Jerris Hedges, MD

Dr. Hedges continued, “I wish the transition were not as abrupt, because I would prefer to extend the camaraderie of leading sister-units here at Kaka`ako with Dr. Carbone. But the work will continue. The UH Cancer Center has great scientists who are doing great science. We’ve got more work to be done. We are proud of the work Dr. Carbone has done and what you do day in and day out.”

Dr. Carbone said afterward, “There are cycles in life. Now my focus is on finding a cure for cancer. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished in the past 8 years. We have today an excellent cancer center, one of only 68 in the country with an NCI designation, and we have a state of the art research building in which all of us work.”

Dr. Michele Carbone

Dr. Michele Carbone

“The faculty here is excellent,” said Dr. Carbone. “I think everything is here for this cancer center to become one of the best in the country. We have to continue to work hard, we need to have the support of the community, and of the Legislature.”

Dr. Carbone continued, “Jerris Hedges is a good friend to all of us and a personal friend of mine. I trust the cancer center will be left in good hands for the time being,” said Dr. Carbone.