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UH Manoa medical school’s Geriatrics Program ranked among Top 20 in the nation

American graduate schools evaluated by U.S. News & World Report

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
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Posted: Jul 30, 2009

The Geriatrics Program at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa‘s John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) is ranked 16th in the nation, according to the July issue of U.S. News and World Report, which annually ranks "America‘s Best Graduate Schools."

The latest rankings place UH‘s Geriatrics Program among those at the nation‘s most prestigious medical schools, including Johns Hopkins (#1), Duke (#4), Harvard (#7), Yale (#8) and Boston University (#13).

"This ranking points to the national recognition of our Geriatric Medicine Program and its innovative contributions to the community," said Dr. Jerris Hedges, dean of JABSOM. "Situated in the middle of the Pacific, it is especially impressive that the excellence of our program has not been overlooked by the leadership of the other medical schools who participate in this ranking effort."

Said Dr. Kamal Masaki, acting chair of Geriatrics, "We are honored to receive national recognition for our program. This represents the team efforts of all our faculty, fellows, staff and community partners, and the leadership provided to us by Dr. Patricia Blanchette, who founded the program. We are proud of our diverse education, research, clinical and community service programs."

Dr. Blanchette, who founded the department in 1984, recalls being assigned by then-Dean Terence A. Rogers to build a program in geriatric medicine to advance the medical school‘s mission to serve Hawaiʻi and the Pacific.

"The goals included academic excellence and community service," said Dr. Blanchette. "Kuakini Medical Center, headed by its CEO, Masa Tasaka, stepped up to become our first major community partner. The program has grown considerably in the past 25 years, and has extended its reach to include other important community partners."

The offices of the Geriatrics Department are located at Kuakini Medical Center (KMC), which has long been known for its commitment to the care of elders. KMC has been a strong supporter of the UH Department of Geriatric Medicine in terms of both fellowship positions and space for academic activities.

A major goal in treating Hawaiʻi‘s current elders, and the many more who will soon enter senior status, is to promote good quality of life. All students at the UH medical school must be trained in geriatrics and palliative care, so they may be equipped to help their elderly patients explore all options for treatment at the end stages of life. To that end, the department created a Division of Palliative Medicine (end-of-life care) in 2005. Palliative care involves a team of experts in everything from pain relief to psychological or religious counseling. UH is the only medical school in the country to require its students to learn this important field.

In addition to practicing at Kuakini Medical Center, the UH Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Program rotates physicians to work within the Veteran‘s Administration facilities in Hawaiʻi, as well as Kaiser Permanente, The Queen‘s Medical Center, and at several island nursing homes.

Geriatrics Department Chair Blanchette, MD, MPH, is currently acting as Chief Operating Officer of UCERA (University Clinical, Education and Research Associates), the medical practice plan through which UH medical doctors treat patients. Dr. Masaki is leading the Geriatrics Department in the interim.

The U.S. News and World Report ranking of professional school programs in business, education, engineering law and medicine are based on both expert opinion and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school‘s faculty, research and students.

The U.S. News and World Report ranking of professional school programs in business, education, engineering law and medicine are based on both expert opinion and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school‘s faculty, research and students.

For more information, visit: http://jabsom.hawaii.edu