No child was ever turned away. No stigma was cast on one struggling with mental health. These are simple words but, when spoken about a hospital administrator, they constitute powerful praise.
These heartfelt sentiments and more were expressed at a recent ceremony honoring Art Ushijima, who is retiring in January 2020 as president and CEO of The Queen’s Health Systems, after nearly 30 years of service.
During Ushijima’s long tenure leading Queen’s, its board of trustees has contributed more than $10 million to support medical education at JABSOM:
- Through stipends for promising minority or disadvantaged college students in the ʻImi Hoʻōla (those who seek to heal) Post-Baccalaureate Program.
- To fund two-year fellowships for researchers investigating health disparities.
- To send medical students on clinical clerkships to Hawaiʻi Island and Molokaʻi.
“What’s my legacy? I have none, but I work for one,” Ushijima said. “It is the legacy of our founders. Whatever we all have done, it’s the translation of that mission to improve the health of Native Hawaiians and all the people of Hawaiʻi.”
During the ceremony, JABSOM presented Ushijima with a feather lei made from rooster feathers. He also was presented a doctor’s white coat, embroidered with the JABSOM logo and his name, much to his delight.
Michele Carbone, JABSOM faculty and former director of the UH Cancer Center, thanked Ushijima for playing a critical role in supporting the creation of the Hawaiʻi Cancer Consortium, which strengthened the UH Cancer Center as it sought renewal of its National Cancer Center designation.
Ushijima noted that Dean Hedges personally funded the retirement celebration. “I am grateful for this recognition,” said Ushijima.