Federal grant improves training for Hawaii pediatricians

University of Hawaiʻi
Gregg Takayama, (808) 692-0988
John A. Burns School of Medicine
Posted: Jul 24, 2006

A new federally funded program at the John A. Burns School of Medicine is improving training for Hawaii pediatricians in treating children with developmental and behavioral issues, under a 5-year grant for $725,000.

The fellowship training program at the Department Pediatrics is one of only nine in the country and the only one on the West Coast.

Physicians in the program become expert at conditions such as autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. They learn about the fields of developmental psychology, child psychiatry, child neurology and rehabilitative medicine to improve systems of care for children with disabilities and other issues.

The Hawaii Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics (DBP) Leadership Training Program was recently accredited by the national Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). The program trains physicians in the relatively new board-certified subspecialty of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics (DBP).

Program Director is Dr. Jeffrey Okamoto, who is also medical director of Rehabilitation Services at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children. He has been especially interested in the interaction between early intervention programs, schools and clinical services. Co-Director Dr. Beppie Shapiro has expertise in physician understanding of early intervention programs. She is also a leader in program evaluation and research relating to infants and young children with special needs. Both Dr. Okamoto and Dr. Shapiro are also faculty for the Center on Disability Studies in the College of Education at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. CDS is an important collaborator with the Hawaii DBP training program.

As recognition of their work in the disabilities area, Dr. Okamoto was given the "Outstanding Community Contribution to Persons with Disabilities" award in 2006 and Dr. Shapiro was given the "Outstanding Faculty Contribution to Persons with Disabilities" award in 2005, both awards presented at the Pacific Rim Conference on Disabilities by the Center on Disability Studies.

Two physicians are currently being trained in the Hawaii DBP leadership training program - each doing a three-year-long Fellowship program. They are Dr. Barbara Samuels, who is originally from New York and also has a strong background in public health, and Dr. Brian Que, who is originally from Guam and an expert on Asperger Disorder.