Thursday, October 21, 1999

Former interim dean
of UH school earns
public health
leadership award

Star-Bulletin staff


University of Hawaii D. William Wood, former interim dean of the University of Hawaii School of Public Health, has been selected for the prestigious Vikki Lianne Moritsugu Memorial Award for Leadership in Public Health.

The award was established in 1996 to recognize people and institutions that go beyond their normal responsibilities to improve the health of special populations facing devastating health and lifestyle problems.

Vikki Lianne Moritsugu, daughter of Rear Adm. Kenneth Moritsugu, deputy surgeon general of the U.S. Public Health Services, died at age 22 of a fatal brain injury after she was struck by a vehicle in a pedestrian crosswalk. As an organ donor, she gave seven people the gift of life.

Her father will present the third public health award in her name to Wood at an American Public Health Association meeting Nov. 7-11 in Chicago.

Vikki from age 12 had struggled with a traumatic brain injury. Her symptoms had been misdiagnosed and she was labeled a "behavior disorder with major depression." She finished high school as a National Honor Society scholar and went to college.

At age 20, she survived a diabetic coma with severe complications of acquired brain injuries. However, she regained brain functions in 18 months.

She told her family and staff at a community-based residential brain injury center that her life goal was to help people like herself "stand tall."

Wood was cited for championing traumatic brain injury and organ donor issues from 1996-99. He organized efforts to pass related legislation and obtain local and federal grant funds.

In addition, he was recognized for making "every effort to maintain the highest standards for the (public health) school during a difficult fiscal crisis, downsizing and accreditation process."

Wood led an unsuccessful campaign the past five years to maintain the school's independence after the UH administration proposed merging it with the John A. Burns School of Medicine.

Wood is a board member of the Craine Institute of Neuropsychology Community-based Healthcare. He heads a steering committee that works to develop innovative, cost-effective community-based services to identify conflicting issues and find creative solutions.

UH School of Public Health Library
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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