Med school renews search for dean
What ever happened to the search for a dean for the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine?
Answer: The search can move ahead now that officials can use tobacco settlement money to help pay operating costs, says Gary Ostrander, the school's interim dean.
"We had gone into a holding pattern to see how that issue was resolved," he said in an interview.
Gov. Linda Lingle signed Senate Bill 1283, allowing the medical school to use funds from the Hawaii Tobacco Settlement Fund to pay for operating expenses and debt service for the Kakaako facility over the next four years.
She initially intended to veto the bill because of concerns about diverting tobacco-prevention funds for unrelated purposes, but Ostrander had emphasized that funding for operating costs would allow the school to support its infrastructure and be more competitive for federal research grants and contracts.
Ostrander said the school closed the fiscal year in the black but is working on meeting requirements for accreditation next year by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. "We have not addressed all of their prior concerns."
Ostrander was appointed by the UH Board of Regents in September to succeed Samuel Shomaker, who had been interim dean since Dr. Edwin Cadman resigned as dean in June 2005 because of a neurodegenerative disorder.
With use of tobacco funds authorized to help pay operating costs, he said money the school was using from its tight budget to pay bills can now go into education and research.
Ostrander said that when a search advisory committee was named in May for the medical school dean, he expected broad interest in the position because of the state-of-the-art facilities in Kakaako and "our highly regarded education and research programs."
This update was written by Helen Altonn.
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