UH Med Now

Reconnect Reunion: JABSOM 50th Anniversary Class marvels at the school’s growth

Date: August 9th, 2019 in Alumni News, JABSOM News    Print or PDF

2019 group photo includes alumni from 1969

Pictured: The JABSOM Class of 1969 at the Outrigger Canoe Club. (L to R back): Drs. Stephan Kreith, David Horio, G.C., John Zander, Roy Wong, Rolland Nakashima. (L to R front): Drs. Richard Ripple, Jim Heyward, Wallace Chun. Deborah Manog Dimaya photo.

By Deborah Manog Dimaya, Deputy Director of Communications

Community and alumni members of the University of Hawaiʻi (UH) Medical School met for dinner and drinks on a balmy summer’s evening next to the glittering waters of the Outrigger Canoe Club. Over 80 attended the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) Alumni Reunion to say hello and reconnect with old friends.

Special guests honored at this year’s event included several members of the JABSOM Class of 1969, which was its first graduating class and this, celebrates its 50th Anniversary.

“I owe my whole professional life to this school because after the University of Hawaiʻi, we were really well prepared for the mainland, we all went on to very successful careers, the very top-notch schools,” said Dr. John Zander.

The UH Medical School originally opened its doors as a two-year program of basic medical sciences, requiring its students to earn their medical degrees from schools on the US mainland. According to Dr. Zander, some of his classmates went on to complete their medical degrees from Harvard, Emory, the University of Pennsylvania and other schools in New York City.

Dr. Zander and his classmates reminisced about the old school and delighted in how much the UH Medical School has grown in the past fifty years, from an auditorium at Lēʻahi Hospital and several small portable lab spaces to JABSOM today, which includes the UH Kakaʻako Campus as well as its teaching hospital partners across the state.

“I see the medical school is in a much better position now to deliver on this vision, of being an education center in and for the Pacific– that was what they talked about then, but now it looks like the UH has it,” said Dr. Ripple.

Just the previous night, members of the 50th Anniversary Class were invited to cloak the incoming medical students at the White Coat Ceremony for the MD Class of 2023, held at President William McKinley High School.

For Dr. Roy Wong, a fellow McKinley Tiger, the event carried him full circle through memory lane. He mused over his childhood, remembering the days he trudged barefoot through wet taro patches in order to get to class at Lanakila Elementary School and thanked the UH Medical School for giving a “local boy” like him a chance to study medicine.

“I’m sure there are a lot of doctors who dreamed of becoming a physician– that never thought they would have the opportunity to do so. I think the school has given them that opportunity, which is terrific,” said Dr. Wong.

For more information about the JABSOM Alumni Association, contact Julie Inouye, Director of Development and Alumni Engagement Director. Or contact Christie Leidholm, Alumni Engagement Coordinator.
Watch our interviews, edited by Deborah Manog Dimaya:

Watch our highlights video, edited by Vina Cristobal:

See all event photos on our JABSOM Flickr:
Reconnect Reunion 2019


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