Lee Ellen Buenconsejo-Lum, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) associate dean for academic affairs, designated institutional official and graduate medical education director, is the first in Hawaiʻi and, likely, the first Filipino to be picked for the highly selective Association of American Medical College’s Council of Deans (COD) Fellowship Program.
Of 28 national applicants, Buenconsejo-Lum was one of six chosen for the COD program, colloquially known as “the dean’s school,” which develops future leaders in academic medicine. “Successful alignment and growth in partnership with our healthcare systems and numerous other clinical training sites, within UH/abbr>, with state and federal stakeholders, and funders will be paramount to advancing health in Hawaiʻi and the Pacific,” said Buenconsejo-Lum. “Participating in the COD Fellowship will significantly assist my personal and the school’s development in this endeavor.”
She earned her MD from JABSOM and joined the faculty as a clinical teaching assistant in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health in 1994. Buenconsejo-Lum has been a teacher, leader, care provider and researcher who played an integral role in the medical school’s ascension in the U.S. News and World Report rankings.
For the last six years, she has been a member of the dean’s executive management team and is involved in all major strategic initiatives, with budget and policy issues, not only within the medical school and UH Mānoa, but also in partnership with the state’s health systems, and Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense partners. One of Buenconsejo-Lum’s roles in these efforts have been to ensure JABSOM’s medical educational programs remain accredited and prepare medical student and residency/fellowship graduates for the rapidly changing healthcare environment, which includes approaching care delivery through a more holistic, system-wide and team-based approach.
Buenconsejo-Lum, a family physician, helped navigate the school and the entire state through the COVID-19 pandemic. She served as one of the primary university liaisons to the Hawaiʻi State Department of Health and the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency. Her voice guided institutional leaders on decisions regarding post-pandemic planning, including school reopenings.
To this day, Buenconsejo-Lum is one of the COVID-19 lead advisors for UH and JABSOM. Her efforts were recognized this year as she was awarded the UH Board of Regents Willard Wilson Distinguished Service Award.
As JABSOM Dean Jerris Hedges plans to retire next year, he says the timing of Buenconsejo-Lum’s COD fellowship selection couldn’t have been better. “Lee is a rare ‘quadruple threat’ that medical school deans love to recruit and develop,” Hedges said. “She is a servant-leader who empowers others to make life and health better for communities. She will gain greatly from her participation in the COD fellowship program.”