UH Med Now
Hawaii chapter of the American College of Physicians renames its Excellence in Teaching Award to perpetually honor longtime JABSOM Professor Dr. John Melish
Pictured: Dr. John Melish. Photos by (L to R): Tina Shelton, Arnold Kameda, Dr. Jill Omori.
By Deborah Manog Dimaya, UH Med Now Correspondent
For 46 years at the University of Hawaiʻi (UH), there is a physician who has dedicated himself to the Department of Medicine. He has held many titles — from lecturer to chief, assistant clinical professor to chairman and he has worked in every John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM)-associated clinic, including that of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Queen Emma Clinic. In addition, this doctor has owned his own private practice. For many at JABSOM, especially the medical students, both past and present, he is recognized as a great teacher and mentor.
Dr. John Melish, longtime Professor of Medicine at the UH JABSOM, was honored with a reception in the Waiola Cafe on the Kakaako Campus on Nov. 23, 2019. He was greeted with many strands of lei and warm wishes by the JABSOM community.
Born in Brooklyn, Dr. Melish has called Hawaiʻi his home for nearly 50 years and has carved out a niche for himself in nurturing clinical skills in future doctors enrolled at the University of Hawaiʻi. In fact, as a tribute to Dr. Melish’s pedagogy, the Hawaiʻi chapter of the American College of Physicians (ACP) renamed its Excellence in Teaching Award to what will now be perpetually called The Dr. John Melish Award. Dr. Lisa Camara, ACP Hawaiʻi Chapter Governor-Elect Designee and JABSOM Assistant Clinical Professor, presented this commendation to Dr. Melish.
Dr. Camara added, “His excellence in teaching will impact and influence the professional lives of students and residents long after their graduation. And he has inspired all of us to strive to become better physicians, patient advocates, and educators.”
MD Class Presidents Joseph Go, Nicole Anzai, Jester Galiza and Elliott Koshi also presented Dr. Melish with a board covered in photos and handwritten messages of gratitude from current medical students to their teacher.
As Dr. Melish thanked everyone for coming to the event, he emphasized the importance of holding high standards when it comes to teaching clinical skills to aspiring physicians and the importance of fostering excellent communication skills to establish the patient-doctor relationship.
He also thanked his family and his wife, Dr. Marian Melish, Professor of Pediatrics and, as he describes,”superstar in research,” for their support throughout his career. Although Dr. Melish has focused most of his career at JABSOM in teaching clinical skills, he shared that he recently returned from Maryland, where he presented a poster on what he believes is a new way of looking at continuous glucose monitoring.
“So life is still an adventure,” Dr. Melish said.
He added, “it’s a little more of a challenge now with health issues but I’m looking forward to making transitions and looking forward to transitions that are important to make in terms of our clinical skills program, which I think is essential to developing new physicians in our community.”