Skip to main content
  • Image
  • Image
  • Image

John A. Burns School of Medicine

Fifty Years of Healing in Hawai‘i

Creating Hawai‘i’s Health Care Future

JABSOM is simultaneously addressing the medical and health challenges of today and preparing for the issues ahead. Monumental changes in health care policy, an aging population, the need for better care at a lower cost, a mounting physician shortage, and the amazing breakthroughs in knowledge afforded by biomedical science present both daunting challenges and exciting opportunities. By helping expand JABSOM’s financial resources, you can ensure that the school is ready to seize these challenges and transform them into spectacular successes for the benefit of Hawaii’s people.

Fifty Years of Healing in Hawai‘i

Since 1965, when the Hawaii State Legislature funded a two-year medical sciences program at the University of Hawaii - Mānoa, the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) has evolved into one of the leading medical education institutions in the US – a world-class, four-year medical school and a top-notch research enterprise.

Named for its most vocal and persuasive supporter, the school realizes Governor Burns’ dual dreams of quality medical care for all the people of Hawaii and the opportunity for local youth from all socio-economic backgrounds to train – right here at home – to become physicians.

Today, more than 2,500 aspiring physicians apply for 70 places in the incoming first year class. By design, 90% of those selected are kamaaina. Our students are accomplished, dedicated, and motivated. They leave as well-trained, highly skilled physicians with a deep sense of duty and compassion. They are committed to making a difference in the lives of their patients.True to Governor Burns’ vision, JABSOM’s student body mirrors the diversity of our state’s population. One of our proudest accomplishments is the important role the school plays in expanding opportunities for women, minorities, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and the disadvantaged. Remarkably, JABSOM is the only accredited medical school in the US with a clinical department (Department of Native Hawai`ian Health) devoted to improving the health of an indigenous people.

JABSOM is deeply woven into the fabric of health care in the Islands. By the time the school celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015, more than 4,500 doctors had graduated from its MD and residency training programs. Half of Hawaii’s physicians either trained and/or teach at JABSOM. Other JABSOM students are candidates for MS and PhD degrees in biomedical science fields, Master’s degrees in Communication Sciences Disorders, and BS degrees in Medical Technology.

In recent years, expanding JABSOM’s research portfolio has become a top priority. Advanced medical and biomedical research takes place in JABSOM labs every day. Our scientists consistently attract the attention of major grant-awarding institutions – including the NIH – that pump millions of dollars annually into our local economy. Bench-to-bedside research – discoveries that can be translated quickly into practice – are our focus. So, too, is research into diseases that disproportionately affect Native Hawaiians.   

Our Vision

Attain Lasting Optimal Health for All – ALOHA in Hawai’i.

Funding Priorities


It’s no secret that medical school has a high price tag. When our newly minted doctors leave JABSOM they a face a staggering average educational debt of more than $120,000 – more than twice what graduates experienced just six years ago – and climbing every year as tuition grows.

Scholarships allow students to make their career specialty decisions based on their passion rather than concern about financial debt and loan repayment. They free students to enter the primary care fields – where the need for Hawai’i is greatest – and to realize their dreams of practicing in Hawai`i rather than on the mainland where pay is higher and costs are lower.

Scholarships also allow JABSOM to compete with mainland medical schools to attract Hawai`i’s finest candidates. They enable us to draw intelligent motivated and caring students from diverse backgrounds and to encourage exceptional students to attend JABSOM regardless of their financial circumstances.

By contributing to JABSOM’s Medical School Scholarship Fund, you will have a direct impact on the lives and careers of our students. And you will be investing in Hawai`i’s health care future – one student at a time.


Rural & Neighbor Island Training

The well-documented physician shortage is putting the health of our neighbor island and rural communities at risk. In response, JABSOM offers its medical students opportunities to take both required and elective courses in neighbor-island and rural communities.

Students, physicians and entire communities benefit when medical students have the opportunity to train in our neighbor-island and rural communities.

  • Students are more likely to return to practice in these communities after they have experienced first-hand the rewards of practicing medicine in a rural area.
  • Local physicians who work with the medical students are rewarded with an ongoing intellectual exchange with the students and other faculty members at JABSOM, and this greater connection to the medical community on Oahu promotes physician retention in our more isolated areas.
  • Health care quality improves in these communities as local physician/mentors constantly teach and learn. 

These rewards, though, come at a price. Your gift to the Rural & Neighbor Island Medical Education Support Fund will help cover the additional expenses incurred for lodging, transportation, and physician preparation and oversight when students are trained in Hawai`i’s more remote communities.

Support for Programs and Facilities & Equipment - $1 million


Support will enhance academic programs throughout the college.  Chairs and directors will be able to respond to critical needs with the flexible funding that private gifts provide.

Facilities and Equipment

Renovated and improved facilities will draw and inspire faculty and students.  State-of-the-art technology will heighten teaching, learning, and research and position the college for the future.


Behind the doors of the JABSOM Biosciences Building, countless scientific research breakthroughs are brewing. A partial list of current projects reveals a complex array of research projects. One team is developing new vaccines to treat infectious diseases and genetically-modified cancers. Another is working to block obesity in children born to obese mothers. Another team is analyzing the impact of drug use during pregnancy. Still others are studying diabetes and AIDS/HIV, both serious health issues in Hawai’i. The Department of Native Hawaiian Health is researching diabetes-related disparities in Native Hawaiians and other Pacific-based populations. And this is a mere sampling of the innovative work being done at JABSOM!

A recurring theme at JABSOM is our scientists’ exploration of the healing powers of the Islands’ natural resources – work that represents a continuum stretching back to the healing wisdom of the Native Hawaiians. Many of the research teams are exploring the mechanisms that create greater disease risk in some populations in Hawai’i so that health disparities can be lessened.

Your support of the JABSOM Research Endowment will advance research that is vitally important for our medical school and for a healthy Hawai`i. Research that pushes knowledge forward, research that responds to pressing health issues, and – most importantly – research that brings science to the treatment of patients.

Questions? / More Information

If you would like to learn how you can support UH students and programs like this,
please contact us at 808 376-7800 or send us a message.