NEW MEDICAL SCHOOL DEAN
Get outside funds
'We're going to turn it around,'
Dr. Edwin Cadman says of the
UH medical school
Public health a hefty challengeBy Helen Altonn
FACULTY members and others who have argued that the University of Hawaii medical school should be abolished because it is a financial drain should keep their eyes on Dr. Edwin Cadman.
The new dean of the John A. Burns School of Medicine isn't kidding when he says he aims to be "the June Jones of the medical school."
"Sure. We're going to turn it around," he said in an interview.
The former Yale-New Haven Hospital and Health System executive has been on the go since assuming his new job Nov. 1, doing what amounts to public relations for the school.
Dr. Sherrel Hammar, popular interim dean of the UH medical school since 1996, has returned to his faculty position as a professor of pediatrics.
After holding the school together during some turbulent times, he says, "The change has been almost like retirement."
Hammar says he's "very impressed" with Cadman. "I really like him. He has a lot of good ideas. He's a no-nonsense person. He's around seeing everybody."
Says Cadman: "It's part of a dean's responsibility to communicate effectively with the community and other constituents. We need to get the community more involved in understanding the medical school. It has great impact in the community, probably more so than most departments in the university. The medical school is to serve the community, both through its research and education programs."
Two faculty committees charged with recommending organizational changes at UH-Manoa to achieve more efficiency and cut costs agreed on one point in reports last year-- that the med school and its gobbling of university resources should be eliminated.
"It shouldn't be a financial drain; it should be a boon," Cadman emphasizes. "At most universities, the medical school is an asset, not a liability."
IT can become an asset through research, he said, noting he wants to get more funding from the National Institutes of Health.
Cadman previously was senior vice president of medical affairs for the Yale-New Haven Hospital and Yale-New Haven Health System and chief of staff of Yale-New Haven Hospital.
He turned down an offer to head the UH medical school last January because he did not believe the state and community were committed to it. He accepted the appointment in July, saying things had occurred to make him believe there was a greater commitment. His annual salary is $430,000, with the UH paying $330,000 and hospitals contributing the rest.
Arthur Ushijima, president and chief executive officer of the Queen's Medical Center, says Cadman is "a breath of fresh air. He has a wealth of experience and provides optimistic leadership for medical education and the medical school, the whole biomedical arena," Ushijima said.
CADMAN'S vision is "to develop to the greatest extent basic science and scientists at the medical school, working in conjunction with outstanding hospitals and community physicians."
He says about $100 billion is available for biomolecular and other medical research through federal and private organizations. He hopes to tap that in the next five to seven years by recruiting scientist-educators primarily funded through grants and contracts.
Developing as"very mature research engine" will bolster the university and the state economically, Cadman says. For example, if a $1 million grant is provided for research with 40 percent for overhead, he notes, the total amount is $1.4 million, with $1 million supporting research directly and $400,000 to maintain and run buildings.
Thus, the programs will become self-sufficient and money will be provided to support the overall structure of the university, he says. The nation's top medical centers don't receive any state money but support themselves through research funds and endowments that build facilities and provide equipment, he noted.
The UH school now receives about $15 million annually from the state and $20 million to $25 million through grants and contracts, Cadman said.
Public health aBy Helen Altonn
Challenges facing the new medical dean include incorporating the school of public health into the medical school -- a University of Hawaii administrative decision strongly opposed by students and graduates around the world.
Currently interim dean of public health Dr. Edwin Cadman said weaknesses and strengths of the school must be addressed, additional faculty recruited and areas identified for enhancement.
He said he has had a lot of discussions with people in the community about public health issues. "There is tremendous strength in the community here. I think we can jointly re-create a very strong School of Public Health."
As a measure of success, Cadman said his goal in five years is to develop strength in five crucial disciplines needed for reaccreditation as a public health school if the UH administration and Board of Regents want to do that.
The areas are: biostatistics, epidemiology, health administration and policy, environmental health and social and behavioral health.
UH administrators cited the university's fiscal crisis when withdrawing support for the school of public health and reducing it to a department in the medical school. The public health school floundered for more than five years because of reduced budgets, loss of faculty and lack of a permanent director. It will lose its accreditation in June. Cadman said efforts are under way to identify areas for training and master's degrees in public health, but doctorate degrees can't be offered without accreditation as a school. After losing its accreditation, it tentatively will be called a department of public health within the medical school, he said.