UH Med Now

Dr. Jason Higa engages students and pets with award-winning enthusiasm

Date: May 22nd, 2020 in Faculty, JABSOM News, Student Life, UH Manoa    Print or PDF

Assistant Professor Dr. Jason Higa not only engages JABSOM students, but he is known to have a positive effect on the animal kingdom as well.


Contributed by Lori Emery, Office of Faculty Affairs

Dr. Jason Higa is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anatomy, Biochemistry and Physiology who provides basic science medical education to undergraduate, graduate and medical students. 

His teaching strengths lie in his ability to teach students over a wide range of educational ability and subject difficulty, as well as his innovative teaching approach by using comparisons to help make physiology concepts easier to understand and relatable to his students’ daily life. Former students continuously appreciate the impact that his personal connection, fun and creative teaching efforts have made on their own educational and professional success. Dr. Higa serves as an exemplary instructor and role model to our students, we are very fortunate to have him as a member of our JABSOM `ohana.

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Dr. Jason Higa with a bird and a dog. (Not pictured: guinea pig, kitty cat, fighting fish, fainting goat, and pot-bellied pig.)

The following is from the UH Office of Communications: Dr. Higa teaches in a field involving volumes of information taught to hundreds of students in mass lectures, with potential long-term life-or-death implications. He augments the lecture and magnifies prerequisite knowledge through strategies of analogy, mnemonics, physical engagement and incorporation of local and

Hawaiian terminology. To complement cross-sectional images of a text, Higa organizes students to rise from their seats and collectively represent elements of a process, such as the heart muscle cells pumping blood through various stages of normal to abnormal. Animating these stages of life-to-death simultaneously enlivens intellectual growth and memorializes the solemn responsibilities of future healthcare professionals. 

A student reflects, “I wonder if I would be where I am today, the same person I’ve become, had it not been for Dr. Jason Higa.”

The Frances Davis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching for a faculty and a graduate assistant recognizes dedication and demonstrated excellence as teachers of undergraduate students. It was established as a memorial to the late Frances Davis, who taught mathematics at Leeward Community College and the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa for 19 years. 

For more information on the Frances Davis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, go to: 

2020 UH Mānoa Awards


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