to the Editor

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Saturday, November 3, 2001

New medical school is crucial to isle's future

The John A. Burns School of Medicine has proposed to expand and build a new medical school for Hawaii. In combination with Hawaii's existing assets, a new medical school can make Hawaii the medical center of the Pacific.

Honolulu has first-class hospitals. They support the clinical training needs of medical students and post-doctoral trainees (interns and residents).

Hawaii's physicians, many of whom are Hawaii Medical Association members, serve as the clinical faculty. These physicians are highly accomplished in their respective fields and donate their time to teach medical students, interns and residents in a community-based cooperative effort. Clinical faculty members charge no fee for this service because they recognize the need for quality medical education and know the importance of having a medical school in Hawaii.

A first-rate medical school attracts top physicians from around the country and the world, thereby giving it clout to attract research monies and projects.

Overall, a new medical school means the highest quality medical care for Hawaii's citizens.

Education, research and administrative activities are scattered over various sites in Hawaii. A central facility will allow for coordination of undergraduate and graduate medical education.

Building a medical school is costly, but we feel the benefits for Hawaii's economy and prestige will pay dividends over time and beyond the initial investment. However, those initial costs are substantial and will require the support of the state Legislature, and therefore, the people of Hawaii.

The Hawaii Medical Association strongly supports the new medical school. We know that the Legislature has recommended that tobacco settlement monies previously committed to tobacco education and nicotine-addition prevention and treatment be used to instead fund the medical school.

But we feel that using this money is a mistake because nicotine addition is one of the biggest killers in our society and stopping smoking by our children and adult population is a top public-health priority. Tobacco settlement monies have already been allocated to the governor for his discretionary use. We feel these should be used for the medical school and the prevention monies be kept for their intended purpose.

We will all benefit from a new medical school. This is the time for all of us to support the necessary funding for this most important project.

Gerald J. McKenna, M.D.
President Hawaii Medical Association


"If anyone wants to pass the hat, count me out."

Karen Knudsen

Hawaii Board of Education member, on the suggestion that the board members raise funds to pay severance for Paul LeMahieu, who has resigned as superintendent of schools. LeMahieu will not receive severance pay from the state because he resigned voluntarily.

"Some of the artifacts here are very old and have strong memories. At night, the spirits get out and play."

Hi'ilani Shibata

Education supervisor of the Bishop Museum's Waikiki branch, on repeated false intruder alarms that have sounded at the new facility.

Medical school will add to UH strain

I challenge Malcolm R. Ing (Letters, Oct. 22) to justify the long-term costs of maintaining a medical school in Kakaako. We need to diversify our economy, but a medical school will add to the strain on University of Hawaii resources.

If you attended UH, you know of past building projects that went sour like the bio-med building, the law library and business building. I was a UH student and recall the shame we felt about these projects.

Also, the academic atmosphere is termite infested. Shiny buildings with decaying educational programs, rotting students and robot educators. Why should we build, when UH can't maintain what it has?

Randy Lum

Weinberg Foundation does good work

Thank you for bringing the story of the Weinberg Foundation to the public (Star-Bulletin, Oct. 28).

It seems that Harry Weinberg's legacy is in good hands and the direct impact on Hawaii's neediest people and the non-profits that serve them is dramatic and long lasting.

Thank you from all of us who are lucky enough to not need the Weinberg Foundation's help.

Steve Lenzi

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The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point on issues of public interest. The Star-Bulletin reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed, must include a mailing address and daytime telephone number.

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