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BOR Regent Chair Randy Moore, Lee Buenconsejo-Lum and UH President David Lassner

As a working family physician, teacher, researcher, administrator and a team player, Dr. Lee Buenconsejo-Lum has stood out for her knowledge and expertise, leadership and exemplary service in the University of Hawaiʻi’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She is the recipient of the 2022 Willard Wilson Award for Distinguished Service.

lee buenconsejo-lum in white coat
Lee Buenconsejo-Lum (Photo credit: Brad Goda)

The associate dean for academic affairs and director of graduate medical education at the UH Mānoa John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) has dedicated the past 25 years to UH. Her lifelong goal is to serve her community and rural areas through her leadership at JABSOM, which includes training the next generation of doctors by working with faculty and health-system partners statewide to ensure they are prepared to meet the rapidly changing healthcare environment.

Since the threat of COVID-19 in March 2020, Buenconsejo-Lum has taken on a vital role as a trusted advisor and leader on matters related to the pandemic response and post-pandemic planning. She has supported and worked directly with executives in multiple areas within UH and the COVID-19 Health & Well-Being Working Group, and is one of the primary UH liaisons to city and state leaders, the Hawaiʻi State Department of Health, the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency, and numerous others.

Here’s what her nominators had to say:

three people wearing masks in class
Buenconsejo-Lum teaching MD residents at JABSOM.
  • Many have commended her for her undying devotion and dedication to get us through this pandemic, and we have been successful because she continues to be the person to whom many turn for practical technical guidance.
  • There is very little we would choose to remember about the last two years, but one bright spot emerges quickly, and that is the demonstrated leadership, aka heroism, of Dr. Lee Buenconsejo-Lum to weather the COVID storm.
  • Buenconsejo-Lum has been everywhere, and done anything that needed to be done, from the big priorities like helping our university ʻohana get tested, and then vaccinated, to smaller but key tasks of drafting, revising and constantly tweaking university COVID policies and procedures, serving on panel discussions, and answering the multitude of questions from the portal.
  • She has led JABSOM’s efforts to sustain educational operations both pre- and post-vaccine availability. JABSOM’s rapid shift to online or hybrid teaching (pre-vaccine) was ahead of many U.S. medical schools in applying student-supportive teaching methodologies. She also worked with our clinical training site partners to return our medical students to the clinical learning environment in early May 2020, well ahead of many schools across the country.
  • Many of us who assisted with UH’s COVID response are eternally grateful for Dr. Buenconsejo-Lum’s tireless and selfless contributions and appreciate the opportunity to see heroism in our midst.

A graduate of Leilehua High School, Buenconsejo-Lum earned her BS in biological sciences from Stanford University, then graduated with her MD from JABSOM in 1994. She stayed in Hawaiʻi to complete her specialty training with the UH Family Medicine Residency Program.

More on the Willard Wilson Distinguished Service Award

The Willard Wilson Distinguished Service Award was established in 1969 to honor the UH Board of Regents’ retiring secretary, who set the standard for exemplary service. The winner, selected from full-time employees at all 10 UH campuses, must have a minimum of 20 years of service and display a consistent pattern of extraordinary dedication to the university that is constantly above and beyond the responsibilities of the nominee’s position, among other criteria.

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