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John Melish
John Melish (Photo credit: Tina Shelton, Arnold Kameda, Jill Omori).

For 46 years, a physician has served the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa with dedication.

Born in Brooklyn, John Melish, longtime professor of medicine, has carved out a niche for himself in nurturing clinical skills in future doctors enrolled at UH. He has held many titles—from lecturer to chief, assistant clinical professor to chairman—and has worked in every JABSOM-associated clinic.

As a tribute to Melish’s pedagogy, the Hawaiʻi chapter of the American College of Physicians (ACP) renamed its Excellence in Teaching Award to be perpetually The Dr. John Melish Award. Lisa Camara, ACP Hawaiʻi Chapter governor-elect designee and JABSOM assistant clinical professor, presented this commendation to Melish at a reception held on November 23 at JABSOM. He was greeted with many lei and warm wishes by the JABSOM community.

“Dr. Melish, in his many years at JABSOM, devoted and continues to devote an incredible amount of attention and emotional and intellectual energy to his students, as an inspired teacher whose enthusiasm for endocrinology has been infectious,” said Camara. “He’s been a mentor of students, residents and colleagues and has demonstrated a sustained commitment to providing personal and professional guidance to other healthcare professionals. He has epitomized the highest standards in medical education every day, modeling kind, compassionate care in his interactions with patients and trainees alike.”

Medical class presidents Joseph Go, Nicole Anzai, Jester Galiza and Elliott Koshi also presented their teacher with a board covered in photos and handwritten messages from current medical students.

As Melish thanked everyone for coming to the event, he emphasized the importance of holding high standards when it comes to teaching clinical skills to aspiring physicians and the importance of fostering excellent communication skills to establish the patient-doctor relationship.

“The way we communicate with patients—sitting down with them face to face and learning their history or performing a physical exam, discussing what kind of lab tests we’re going to do and then following up with that patient—that’s the essence of medicine since the beginning of time and we need to preserve that,” Melish said.

Read the full story on the JABSOM website.

—By Deborah Manog Dimaya

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