For the third year in a row, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) leads the nation among U.S. land grant universities without a university hospital in funding from the National Institutes of Health, according to annual NIH figures.
JABSOM, which partners with Hawaiʻi’s major medical centers to provide settings for clinical training, had $57 million in extramural funding in fiscal year 2013, including foundation and faculty practice income.
“This achievement by our faculty is all the more impressive at a time when federal funding restrictions have made NIH grants increasingly competitive,” said Jerris R. Hedges, JABSOM dean.
Many JABSOM investigators also hold clinical positions at local community hospitals and approximately 42 percent of faculty salary support is generated through extramural funds, including clinical practice, grant awards and contract support, Hedges noted.
“JABSOM has leveraged grant opportunities designed to help smaller institutions (especially those that serve minority populations) along with state investments in clinical and basic science research faculty members to strengthen UH Mānoa and bring jobs to Hawaiʻi,” said Hedges. “Our faculty members have attained monies to help build research infrastructure and address health disparities in our multi-ethnic, multi-cultural community while successfully competing with the nation’s larger research juggernaut institutions.”
Large medical institutions with affiliated university teaching hospitals and thousands of faculty members have consistently received the most NIH support. Small, remote medical institutions have generally had greater difficulty both recruiting research faculty members and successfully competing for federal dollars.
On an NIH research award dollar per full-time faculty member basis, JABSOM is in the top 20 of all medical schools nationally. JABSOM is also a leader in inter-professional research collaborations.
“We also are tremendously fortunate that more than 1,200 island physicians, many of them JABSOM alumni, serve as volunteer clinical faculty members, helping to train our medical students and (post-MD) resident trainees,” said Hedges. This in-kind support helps the faculty members who are writing and executing research grants be more successful.
JABSOM is gearing up to commemorate the 50th anniversary of its founding in 2015. JABSOM trains 264 medical students per year and supervises the graduate medical education of an additional 245 physicians as they work toward board certification and licensure. The school also instructs graduate students earning advanced degrees in biomedical sciences and in the allied health programs of communication sciences and disorders and medical technology.
—By Tina Shelton