UH Med Now
Judge James S. Burns awardees honored at annual JABSOM White Coat Ceremony
On July 22, the JABSOM Friends of the Medical School (FOMS) presented the Judge James S. Burns Award to Lila Johnson and Dr. Elizabeth “Libby” Char during the school’s annual White Coat Ceremony.
The Burns Award – named after the late renowned Judge James S. Burns and son to the school’s namesake Governor John A. Burns – is given to an alumnus, faculty, or community member who has made a significant contribution to the medical school, and largely, to the state of Hawaii. The award was presented by Judge Burns’ wife and locally renowned television host, Emme Tomimbang Burns, and FOMS president Dr. Lucy Wong.
Lila Johnson, MPH, has been a long-time member of FOMS, serving at its secretary. Johnson was a driving force behind JABSOM’s White Coat Ceremony and ‘Ohana Day, which provides families of first-year students an opportunity to visit the campus and to familiarize themselves with the medical school. Johnson was also an integral part of JABSOM’s construction of the Kaka’ako campus courtyard.
Dr. Char, a JABSOM 1991 alumna, contributed her time to the medical school for many years by mentoring the next generation of physicians at Queen’s Medical Center. She has become a key figure in the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, she was appointed as the Director of the Hawaii Department of Health and brought visibility to JABSOM’s accomplishments through her work in the state government and her role as medical director for the City & County of Honolulu Emergency Medical Services.
By Vina Cristobal, JABSOM Communications Coordinator