UH Med Now
One of Dr. Terry Rogers’ legacies: Pacific Basin Medical Officers Training Program by University of Hawaiʻi trained 70 physicians For Micronesia and American Samoa
Date: August 30th, 2018 in Alumni News, Faculty, JABSOM News
Pictured: Graduates of the Medical Officer training program Class of 1995.
By Greg Dever, MD (JABSOM MD 1978)
During the early days of the medical school under the University of Hawaiʻi medical school’s first dean, Dr. Windsor Cutting and overlapping with his successor Dean Terry Rogers, MD, there was great interest at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) to provide both medical training and specialty health care services for the communities of the then U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI) and the U.S. flag territories of Guam and American Samoa.
To this end JABSOM conducted the federally-funded Regional Medical Program of Hawaiʻi (1968-1976) which, last administered by Dr. Satoru Izutsu, provided medical service and training for the region (1). Then Dean Rogers, with the timely assistance of the good office of Senator Daniel Inouye, succeeded in capturing ”sunset” federal funding to establish a medical training program in Micronesia that would resolve the acute indigenous physician shortage.
In 1987 the Pacific Basin Medical Officers Training Program (2-4) was established in Pohnpei State of the Federated States of Micronesia, which over the next eleven years – until the “sunset” legislation expired – trained 70 Micronesian (62) and American Samoan (8) physicians. The PBMOTP was a five-year physician training and community health program that utilized problem-based learning and implemented an innovative curriculum that addressed, in a practical fashion, the medical and public health needs of the islands. Dean Rogers, through the well-known force of his personality, excelled in identifying and organizing allies not only among the Pacific Islands but also within the U.S. federal government and Congress in order to guide him in navigating to capture the resources needed to support physician training in Micronesia. At JABSOM the PBMOTP was administered successively by Associate Deans John Wellington and Dr. Izutsu. After Dean Rogers retired, former Dean Christian Gulbrandsen oversaw the program until the funding expired.
A 1998 review of the program by the Institute of Medicine summarized the PBMOTP as a “a remarkable success” and “the model would serve other developing nations well as they seek to train indigenous people to be health care practitioners.” (5) Now under Dean Jerris Hedges, JABSOM’s Hawaiʻi/Pacific Basin Area Health Education Center, administered by Dr. Kelley Withy, in partnership with the College of Micronesia-FSM (Pohnpei State, FSM) and the Pacific Island Health Officers Association, is conducting a very successful pre-med and pre-dental Health Careers Opportunities Program using the PBMOTP approach. Ten years after Dean Rogers’ death, his legacy at JABSOM and in the Pacific endures.
Dr. Greg Dever, (JABSOM MD 1978) is the Former Director of PBMOTP (1987-1996), and is the Regional Human Resources for Health Coordinator, for the Pacific Island Health Officers Association in the Republic of Palau. He is one of many JABSOM Alumni who have fond memories of the dynamic British-born Dr. Terry Rogers, who died 10 years ago in his adopted home of Hawaiʻi.
A memory from Pohnpei: Terry Rogers bids aloha to program that trained 70 doctors for the Pacific