Department of Medicine unveils mural honoring the late Dr. Elizabeth Tam

Related News Articles

Elizabeth Kealiʻikuaʻāina Tam, MD
“Hanohano ka wahine i ke ao”
To honor the woman whose brilliance lit this world

On February 7, 2024, family, friends and colleagues gathered on the Department of Medicine’s floor to witness the unveiling of a three-panel mural that showcased Dr. Elizabeth Tam’s professional achievements as the Chair of the Department of Medicine. 

“She’s the most beautiful person I ever knew. I could not have asked for a better life than to have someone like her in my life.” Patty Williams, Dr. Tam’s aunt, shared these sentiments that many others hold about her niece. 

The intimate dedication and celebration included an oli, chant by Dr. Mahealani Lum, hula performed by Drs. Dee-Ann Carpenter and Mahealani Lum, and nostalgic speeches including one from the current chair of the Department of Medicine, Dr. Scott Kuwada. 

“I always did my faculty reviews with her,” Dr. Kuwada said. “I’d always leave with that feeling of, ‘So, this is what a big sister must feel like,’ because she meant well. She tried to make us all much more independent and empower us.”

Designing the mural was a collaborative effort by the Department of Medicine’s team who wanted to honor their Chair. The selected pictures commemorate the nearly three decades of Dr. Tam’s dedication to JABSOM as a physician leader, educator, researcher, and advocate for a tobacco-free Hawaii and for Native Hawaiian health. 

The mural is a visual footprint and meaningful to those she touched. The three panels uphold the three essential pillars in her life as Chair: teaching, research and advancing the health and wellness for the people of Hawai’i. 

Dr. Tam passed on October 8, 2021 after serving as Chair of the Department of Medicine for 17 years.


Elizabeth "Liz" Keali'ikua'aina Tam, M.D. Memorial Triptych Mural