Enduring Gift Creates Endowed Chair (Video, Photos)

A generous gift has created the first endowed chair in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health (OB-Gyn) at the John A. Burns School of Medicine. The gift acknowledges the excellence of the department, and it comes from the heart. It is an investment in the University of Hawai`i medical school by Professor Emeritus Santosh Sharma, who has spent 35 years in the department, and still teaches when called upon.

The Lakshmi Devi and Devraj Sharma Endowed Chair in Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health is named after Dr. Sharma’s parents, who went to sometimes extraordinary lengths to insist that their daughter be allowed to attend school as she was growing up in Kenya.

See more ceremony photos by Scott Nishi at UHMed Flickr.

“Endowed Chairs are the hallmark of great universities,” said Donna Vuchinich of the University of Hawai’i Foundation, during a faculty lunch meeting announcing the endowment at OB-Gyn’s main office at the Kapi’olani Medical Center.

Tina Shelton reports, in our video embedded above. Click HERE to watch the video directly on UHMed Vimeo.

(Sound on Tape)
A quick working lunch has been called for MD residents and the faculty who teach them in OB-Gyn.

Donna Vuchinich, UH Foundation: “This new endowed chair in the department will help us achieve the next level of excellence for our programs and our community.”

Faculty of the University of Hawai`i’s medical school help deliver on-third of the babies born in the state annually; many of those high-risk births.

Dean Jerris Hedges: “Nobody does it better. And we are truly proud that you are an important part of the John A. Burns School of Medicine.”

Now, a gift by emeritus professor Santosh Sharma creates the department’s first endowed chair.

Dean Jerris Hedges: “Dr. Sharma is making this gift in gratitude to her parents” for their commitment to her education as a young girl growing up in Kenya. The chair will be named the Lakshmi Devi and Devraj Sharma Endowed Chair at the John A. Burns School of Medicine.”

Dr. Ivica Zalud, Chair of OB-Gyn

Dr. Ivica Zalud, Chair of OB-Gyn


Dr. Ivica Zalud, Chair of OB-Gyn: “Dr. Sharma, in the name of the department in the name of the medical school and myself, just a huge, huge thank you. Thank you.” (Sound of applause.)

Dr. Santosh Sharma

Dr. Santosh Sharma

Dr. Sharma: “I’m grateful for all of you to come here during this busy time. Even if you didn’t come I wouldn’t have changed my mind!” (Laughter). “Once I decide to do something I always do it. I just want to share that I’ve been very fortunate, I had very loving parents who never said no to me for anything, I was able to do whatever I wanted to do and met very nice people on my way. Everybody gave me a piece of advice all along, especially in England, especially being the only female on the surgical unit, (about) how to get along with other people. One of the surgeons told me, ‘everybody is not going to like you and you are not going to like everybody but your personality will be that you get along very well with everybody and achieve your goals’. So I always remember that I’ve been blessed. When I came to Hawai`i my mind was my next stop would be either New Zealand or Australia, but fortunately I just loved this place and I loved the people over here, and I ended up staying much longer than I was intending to do that.”

Photographer: “One, two, three.” (Shutter Sound) “Okay, thank you everybody.”

Generations to come will thank you, too, Dr. Sharma.

(Tape ends)

Our main photograph features Dr. Ivica Zalud, OB-GYN Chair, Donna Vuchinich, UH Foundation, and UH medical school Dean Jerris Hedges listening to Dr. Santosh Sharma.

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