Faculty Development Events/Announcements



Bliss Kaneshiro, MD receives UH Presidential Citation for Meritorious Teaching

Bliss Kaneshiro, MD, is a tenured Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Women’s Health. She is recognized for setting the bar high as a physician committed to unifying medicine, research and education in the field of family planning, building on underlying principles of social justice. She teaches students to be attentive to disparities in health care as the most significant medical challenge, and to think about innovative ways to reach the most disadvantaged in our communities.

A community colleague reports, “These are very overwhelming issues, and I cannot overstate the importance of them being raised in the teaching setting.” Dr. Kaneshiro’s teaching relies on three tenets: every human being deserves the opportunity to attain his or her full health potential; respecting patient autonomy is the cornerstone to patient care; and, physicians must adopt a lifestyle of continuous learning. She fosters an environment of enquiry amongst students, residents, fellows and junior faculty in the department and by involving and educating all levels of learners, she leaves a deep and sustainable impact on young physicians to carry on advancement in reproductive medicine. Her calm manner and encouraging nature balance her high expectations. Many students credit Dr. Kaneshiro’s wisdom, guidance and opportunities for them “now living my dream of attending medical school.” Colleagues recognize that Dr. Kaneshiro “distinguishes herself from others climbing the ladder of success because she brings others up the ladder with her”. She has proposed innovative ways to incentive and recognize faculty for their educational efforts and to improve medical resident education as well. Dr. Bliss Kaneshiro is a true leader, sought out by learners and trainees at every level: students, graduate students, medical students, residents in obstetrics/gynecology as well as other fields, post-residency fellows and even other faculty.

Each year the University honors members of the faculty and staff who have demonstrated excellence in their teaching, research and community service. The Office of Faculty Development and Academic Support (OFDAS) administers the selection process for the Board of Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Teaching, Presidential Citation for Meritorious Teaching, Frances Davis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, and Robert W. Clopton Award for Distinguished Community Service and has pioneered the development of a quantitative screening and qualitative peer review procedure. OFDAS also assists the Chancellor’s office with the annual Mānoa Awards Ceremony, which recognizes these and other Mānoa award recipients.

For more information on UH Manoa faculty awards visit:



Martina Kamaka, MD featured as this year’s JABSOM Women in Medicine Month speaker.

Martina Leialoha Kamaka, MD, is a Native Hawaiian family physician and Associate Professor in the Department of Native Hawaiian Health at JABSOM. In 1999, Dr. Kamaka established the Cultural Competency Curriculum Development project and continues to serve as lead faculty for cultural competency training for medical students and residents. As a clinician, Dr. Kamaka provides health care services for patients with Hansen’s Disease at Hale Mohalu. Dr. Kamaka is also founding member and President of ‘Ahahui o nā Kauka (Native Hawaiian Physicians Association) and provides leadership and critical outreach in her partnerships with the Pacific Region Indigenous Doctors Congress and Ke Kula ‘o Samuel Kamakau.

As the featured speaker for this year’s Women in Medicine Month, Dr. Kamaka gave a talk on the “Seven Things I Wish I Learned in Medical School (but learned along the way and helped make me who I am today)!” From diverse beginnings having traveled with her family while her father was in the military and spending time in her mother’s homeland of Germany, Dr. Kamaka shared her journey of what led her to pursue a career in medicine and become a leader in promoting and embracing diversity in healthcare for communities. Dr. Kamaka lacked mentors growing up and didn’t have anyone to look up to when she was considering a career in the healthcare field. At first she wanted to become a nurse, then eventually thought about becoming a physician and pursued her dream because she didn’t want to have any future regrets. Her educational path is also diverse, having gone to Notre Dame for her undergraduate degree, JABSOM for medical school and Pennsylvania for residency. She decided on a career in Family Medicine although she was warned not to go into that field by one of her own instructors, because he said it was a dying field. She decided to choose Family Medicine because her experience of moving often and only seeing military doctors while growing up did not offer the chance to develop longstanding rapport and continuity with a primary care physician. Her path led her to develop relationships with key mentors and influencers who helped to shape her career. Native Hawaiian physicans, Dr. Benjamin Young, Dr. Emmett Aluli, and the late Dr. Kekuni Blaisdell were early pioneers and advocates for Native Hawaiian Health and served as role models. Because training in Native Hawaiian Health disparities had not been established, Dr. Kamaka is credited with spearheading the first cultural competency and Native Hawaiian Health disparities educational curricula at JABSOM. Her leadership resulted in the cultural competency curricula (C3) teaching team receiving the prestigious LIMElight award for “Sustained Excellence in Indigenous Health Curriculum Implementation” presented during the Leadership in Indigenous Medical Education Conference held in November in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Dr. Kamaka is a true inspiration to future generations of physicians, with many aspiring pre-medical students traveling from Manoa campus to listen to her speak. One pre-med student said that she loved how Dr. Kamaka shared her personal experiences and said “these are things you don’t hear about in your classes.” Many of the undergraduate and pre-med students were so motivated by Dr. Kamaka’s talk that they formed a line to personally thank her for her inspiring words. In her true giving fashion, she spoke to each and every one of them, even sharing her email address to make future connections. Dr. Kamaka is an impressive example of a woman in medicine who has made lasting contributions to medical education and is continuing to make a tremendous impact on our students and community!

September is the American Medical Association (AMA’)s Women in Medicine (WIM) Month, which serves to showcase the accomplishments of women physicians as well as highlight advocacy related to women physicians and health issues impacting women patients.

For more information on the AMA Women in Medicine Month, visit:



Congratulations to 11 faculty who were awarded tenure and/or promotion this year!

Pictured: (standing L-R: Peter Hoffmann, Susan Steinemann, Pietro Bertino, Rachel Boulay, Keawe Kaholokula, Native Hawaiian Health Chair, Chessa Cambra, Richard Allsopp, Mariana Gerschenson, Associate Dean of Research) (seated L-R: Takashi Matsui, Anatomy, Biochemistry, Physiology Chair, Gretchenjan Gavero, Tony Guerrero, Psychiatry Chair, Mary (Diane) Eckert, Dean Mikami, Kenric Murayama, Surgery Chair, Alan Otsuki, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Lori Emery, Faculty Affairs Program Specialist) (front: Kalani Brady, Director of Faculty Affairs)  (missing: Luree Ohigashi-Oasay, Tracee Suetsugu)

Each year faculty who were tenured and/or promoted are invited by the Dean to celebrate this major milestone in their academic career. The application process is long and requires submission of an extensive application packet reviewed by multiple levels of peer reviewers. Being awarded tenure or promotion recognizes the significant contributions that faculty have made in the areas of teaching, research and service and their commitment to our school, university, community and their field. We are indeed honored to have them as a member of our JABSOM ‘ohana.

Below is the list of faculty who were tenured and/or promoted:


Richard Allsopp, PhD

Promotion to Professor



Luree Ohigashi Oasay

Promotion to Librarian III



Pietro Bertino, PhD

Promotion to Associate Researcher



Rachel Boulay, PhD

Promotion to Specialist



Chessa Harris, MBA

Tenure (at the Junior Specialist rank)



Tracee Suetsugu, MD

Promotion to Assistant Professor



Gretchenjan Gavero, MD

Promotion to Associate Professor

Mary (Diane) Eckert, MD

Promotion to Associate Professor



Dean Mikami, MD

Promotion to Professor

Kenric Murayama, MD

Tenure (at Professor rank)

Susan Steinemann, MD

Promotion to Professor