$1.88 million funds two medical professorships in geriatric medicine

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Margot Schrire, (808) 956-6774
Director of Communications, UH Foundation
Posted: Jun 20, 2014

Drs. Christina Bell and Kamal Masaki
Drs. Christina Bell and Kamal Masaki

While Victor and Margaret "Peggy" Pavel are no longer with us, their transformational $11.5 million estate gift continues to build areas of UH excellence for the benefit of Hawai‘i’s people. Of this historic estate gift, $1.88 million was designated to create endowed professorships in medicine at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM).

"This gift will help us support two faculty members on an ongoing basis who will contribute to both training and research in geriatric medicine," said Dr. Jerris Hedges, Dean of JABSOM. "Expertise in geriatric medicine is very important for Hawai‘i as we have one of the oldest populations in the U.S.  We know that, as we age, a variety of conditions can develop. Having faculty who are focused on understanding the physiology of aging, and how to work hand-in-hand with the patient to have healthy aging, is really a key part of our training program.

"We have a wonderful teaching program," Hedges continued, "and are doing some phenomenal research in geriatrics and work in the community. This gift will greatly enhance our ability to build our training and research programs and better serve Hawai‘i's people."

The first two Victor and Peggy Brandstrom Pavel Endowed Professors in Medicine have been selected.

Kamal Masaki, MD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Geriatric Medicine, was one of the first graduates of the UH Fellowship Program in Geriatric Medicine. She has been on faculty in the department since 1991 and is board certified in Internal Medicine and Geriatric Medicine.

She served as Program Director of the Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Program from 2004-2012, as Acting Department Chair from 2008-2011, and was appointed Department Chair in 2011. Dr. Masaki’s research and teaching track record is extensive and includes being part of a research team focused on chronic disease epidemiology in the elderly.

Dr. Masaki has served as clinical director of the Honolulu-Asia Aging Study, Honolulu Heart Program, The Women’s Health Initiative, and numerous other related studies for the past 23 years.  In addition, she has co-authored more than 200 manuscripts, the majority of which have been published in national peer-reviewed journals.

She continues to actively teach at all levels, particularly in the Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Program, and is responsible for all curricula in Geriatric Medicine and Palliative Medicine for UH medical students, residency programs, allied health students and professionals.

Dr. Masaki notes, “I am honored to be selected as a Victor and Peggy Brandstrom Pavel Endowed Professor in Medicine.  We are very grateful to the Pavel family for this extremely generous gift that will help us train the next generation of geriatricians and researchers in aging.”

Dr. Christina Bell, MD, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Geriatric Medicine, has served as the Program Director of the UH Fellowship Program in Geriatric Medicine for the past two years.

She earned her undergraduate degree at UH Mānoa and her medical degree at JABSOM. After completing her family medicine residency training on the mainland, she returned to practice medicine in Kea‘au, Hawai‘i, for three years where she witnessed first-hand Hawai‘i’s need for physicians trained in geriatric medicine.

She then completed her Geriatric Medicine Fellowship and a PhD in Clinical Research at UH, and holds Certificates of Added Qualification in Geriatric as well as Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Her achievements include being a primary author or co-author on 31 publications, over 40 scientific abstracts and being selected for a five-year Geriatric Academic Career Award from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Said Dr. Bell, "I am very thankful to the Pavel family and the University of Hawai‘i for this support. I look forward to training our next generation of physicians to care for Hawai‘i's older adults.”

In announcing the selection of the newly endowed professors, Dean Hedges noted, “Drs. Masaki and Bell exemplify the quality and depth of leadership we have within our Department of Geriatric Medicine at JABSOM.  Both are outstanding clinicians and educators who are committed to training the next generation of geriatricians for our community. They are very actively involved in aging research and have published extensively.  More importantly, they serve as excellent role models and mentors for our medical students, residents, fellows and allied health professionals, inspiring them to consider careers in this critically needed field of medicine.”

We invite you to read about Victor and Peggy Brandstrom Pavel’s life and learn about what motivated them to make this phenomenal gift.

Watch video of Dean Hedges thanking the late donors and sharing the impact of the fund.

The University of Hawai‘i Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawai‘i System. The mission of the University of Hawai‘i Foundation is to unite donors’ passions with the University of Hawai‘i’s aspirations by raising philanthropic support and managing private investments to benefit UH, the people of Hawai‘i and our future generations. www.uhfoundation.org

The John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM), named for a visionary governor, was founded in 1965. The school has trained more than 4,500 medical doctors through its MD or residency programs; nearly half of Hawai`i’s current practicing physicians. With an enrollment of nearly 600 students per year, JABSOM also confers advanced degrees in the Biomedical Sciences, Communications Sciences and Disorders and an undergraduate degree in Medical Technology. For more information about JABSOM, visit http://jabsom.hawaii.edu.

For more information, visit: http://www.uhfoundation.org