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The Murayama Family

The Murayama family’s ties to the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) runs deep.

Kenric, the patriarch, is a 1985 JABSOM graduate and chair of the Department of Surgery. His wife, Norma, is a former nurse and Friends of the Medical School president. Their son, Matthew is a second-year family medicine resident in Riverside, CA. Their other son, Michael, graduated from JABSOM in 2018 and is practicing pediatrics. Their daughter, Sarah, is a member of JABSOM’s class of 2023 and graduated on May 14.

“We just feel very lucky to be part of the JABSOM family. The environment they provided is such a good one, and it’s hard not to be a part of this JABSOM family,” Kenric said.

With each child following in their parents’ footsteps, some may think the Murayamas are “tiger parents,” but the kids will be the first to note that was never the case.

I think JABSOM does a really good job of creating a family within the medical school.
—Sarah Murayama

“They were never those overbearing, ‘you have to go into medicine’ parents,” Sarah said. “They actually were really hands-off.”

Sarah said her parents quietly led by example.

“From a young age, I always saw my dad in the hospital. My mom was a former nurse, so healthcare was always in the background in our family,” Sarah said. “My dad was always very humble, so we, as kids, probably underestimated how great he was in his career. Now that we’re older, we realize all that he’s accomplished. Growing up, we just saw how much he cared about his patients, his career, and what we saw was the passion,” she said.

“He certainly set a great example for us,” Michael said. “He did a great job balancing patient care and family time. When we were growing up, we never thought of him as this amazing surgeon or a surgeon at all. He was just dad.”

Seeing their father’s passion up close made a strong impression on the kids because Michael didn’t set out to be a doctor.

“I had tried out a bunch of things related to patient care, but ultimately, it was medicine that really fulfilled what I was looking for,” Michael said.

The same could be said for Matthew. He spent a year in marketing before deciding to become a physician. Sarah will be an Obstetrics-Gynecology resident at the UH Residency Programs. A career in medicine may have been her destiny.

“When I was younger, I would say I wanted to be a pediatric oncologist, which I don’t even know how I knew what that was,” she said with a laugh.

Sarah added, “I think JABSOM does a really good job of creating a family within the medical school. They really build that community between the students and faculty preceptors in the community. I’ve loved my time here. It really prepares me for the clinical settings ahead.”

Read more about the Murayamas on the JABSOM website.

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