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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Shadow on medical school lifted

By Beverly Creamer
Advertiser Education Writer

An independent review committee has recommended that the John A. Burns School of Medicine not be put on probation, contradicting a decision by the national body that accredits medical schools.

"This is like an appellate court overruling a lower court," said a jubilant Edwin Cadman, dean of the medical school at the University ofHawai'i.

Edwin Cadman said the report is a key turning point for UH.

Advertiser library photo • April 23, 2002

UH President Evan Dobelle called it "validation for every person at the medical school," which "does more with less than any other medical school in the country."

The Liaison Committee on Medical Education's Independent Review Committee advised reversing the recommendation for probation made in late April.

In a letter received yesterday by Dobelle, the review committee noted that it was recommending that the liaison committee "reverse" its action to place the medical school on probation.

The review committee cited documentation that Cadman and his team from the medical school had submitted in defense of the school. The two-inch stack of paperwork included information that the state Legislature "was committed to $150 million to build a whole new medical school," Cadman said.

It also said Cadman had been authorized to hire 30 new faculty members, at the rate of six per year for five years. The first five already have been hired, he said.

Cadman said he thinks the reversal is due partially to clearing up misinformation on which the liaison committee had acted.

"They thought we had 36 PhD faculty, and in fact we have 48," he said.

In making the April recommendation for probation, the liaison committee had cited points of concern including "serious underfunding from limited revenue sources" and a loss of faculty in the basic science departments.

Cadman's documentation submitted in rebuttal refuted those concerns.

The review committee's recommendation is only the first part of a lengthy appeal process. The next step includes a hearing Oct. 16 in Washington, D.C., at a regularly scheduled liaison committee meeting.

But Cadman believes the report is a key turning point in the liaison committee's confidence that the medical school is on track after warnings that began as far back as 1995.

"I think Ed Cadman looks forward to that hearing," Dobelle said.