COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII AT MANOA
UH-Manoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw, right, calls new medical school Dean Jerris Hedges "a great match" for the school, the university and the state.
UH med school ‘is poised for greatness,’ says new dean
As the new dean of Hawaii's medical school, Dr. Jerris R. Hedges will work with an annual budget of about $31 million in state funds -- a giant drop from the $1.8 billion annual budget at his present university.
But Hedges, vice dean for the Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine, said he is excited about the challenges facing him at the John A. Burns School of Medicine.
"It's really at the beginning," he said yesterday, describing much to do in building the University of Hawaii medical school's research, education and outreach programs. "The school is poised for greatness in terms of its contribution to medicine."
Hedges said his mission is to develop medical research relevant to Hawaii and the Pacific, strengthen the school and improve access to health care.
UH-Manoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw said the 58-year-old professor, author and researcher "is a great match" for the medical school, the university and the state. He has won many awards in his field of emergency medicine and has been elected to the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine, which advises the government on medicine, health and biomedical science.
The Oregon Health & Science University, Portland's largest employer with 12,400 employees, earned $307 million in research funding in the last fiscal year, compared with grants and awards to the UH medical school totaling about $42 million.
Hedges will begin work at the school in March with a salary of $505,008 a year for three years. The amount is competitive, based on guidelines of the American Association of Medical Colleges, Hinshaw said.
Dr. Edwin Cadman, previous dean of the school, resigned in June 2005 because of a neurodegenerative disorder. Samuel Shomaker became interim dean and was succeeded in September 2006 by Gary Ostrander, UH vice chancellor for research and graduate education.
Ostrander, who has held both positions, froze hiring, reallocated resources and made other changes to turn the medical school's finances from red to black in the past fiscal year. He said Hedges was not promised any new faculty, but will recruit and fill vacant positions and develop infrastructure that will allow expansion.
Hedges said there is "tremendous synergy" with the school and community, and he would like to see research funds grow every year.
Some state support is important to help attract strong scientists for education and improve medical services for residents, he said. But the goal is to develop new revenue streams focusing on "things we do uniquely," he said.