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Six questions with JABSOM alum Bryan Wahl, MD, JD

Date: April 16th, 2021 in JABSOM News    Print or PDF



Bryan Wahl, MD, JD, and the son of Susan and Dr. Wendell Foo, followed his parents lead and created a scholarship endowment for first year medical students at JABSOM. Photo provided by Dr. Wahl.

Earlier this year, Bryan Wahl, MD, JD, fortified his endowment to the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) with more funds, showing his commitment to first-year, Hawaii resident students with financial needs.  The 1999 JABSOM alum finished high school ahead of time and is one of the school’s youngest graduates. He also has a law degree from the University of California, where he received three American Jurisprudence Awards, two Prosser Awards and a Barbee Fellowship. 


  1. If this is a way of giving back, what sealed the deal for you to create your endowment in 2017 and fortify it this year? 

JABSOM took a chance on accepting me to med school more than 26 years ago as a young applicant without a college degree. I learned so much from all of the wonderful faculty, staff, and patients. I’m fortunate to have the ability to add to the endowment fund over time and hopefully help the next generation of medical students in a small way. 

  1. Do you have any memories about JABSOM that would be of benefit for medical students now? 

 Having collaborated with countless physicians including key opinion leaders over my career, I can say that JABSOM provides a fantastic education and prepares students well for the next steps in their medical journeys. I wish the new Kakaako campus next to the beach was around when I was in school!

  1. I see you are also an attorney, but do you actively practice medicine? What is/was your specialty?

 My day job now is as the General Counsel at Tarsus Pharmaceuticals, managing all of the legal affairs of the company. Tarsus is a publicly-traded late clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of therapeutic candidates to address highly prevalent conditions with limited treatment options. I also continue to practice inpatient internal medicine part-time as a hospitalist at Kaiser Permanente. This past year that has been mostly taking care of COVID patients in the wards and the ICU which has been challenging.  

  1. What is your philosophy about your mission for the world? 

Whether it be in direct patient care, therapeutic development to address patient unmet needs or personally, I strive to work hard and give back as much as I can to hopefully make as much of an impact as possible.

  1. What high school did you go to? (where you wen grad?) 

Iolani ’94 

  1. Anything else you would like us to know? 

 My parents, Dr. Wendell Foo and Susan Foo have been instrumental in instilling important values and guiding who I am today, providing endless love and support, and I can’t thank them enough. I am also very grateful to my JABSOM mentor Dr. Jinichi Tokeshi for his continued guidance over the years – he had the foresight to lead a universal masking campaign very early on in the pandemic before it was a consensus best practice.

By Paula Bender, JABSOM News

In this 2017 photo featured above, Dean Jerris Hedges and Dr. Bryan Wahl shake on a new scholarship endowment for JABSOM. Amanda Shell photo.


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