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University of Hawaii selects new dean for medical school

                                Dr. Thomas Samuel “Sam” Shomaker has been named the sixth dean of the University of Hawaii at Manoa John A. Burns School of Medicine. He begins July 1.
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Dr. Thomas Samuel “Sam” Shomaker has been named the sixth dean of the University of Hawaii at Manoa John A. Burns School of Medicine. He begins July 1.

Dr. Thomas Samuel “Sam” Shomaker will serve as the next dean of the University of Hawaii’s John A. Burns School of Medicine.

Shomaker, a 1986 JABSOM graduate, is scheduled to begin on July 1. The UH Board of Regents on Thursday approved his nomination after a comprehensive nationwide search.

“Dr. Shomaker has extensive leadership experience and served in senior leadership positions within higher education and medical schools, including his time at JABSOM,” said UH Manoa Provost Michael Bruno in a a news release. “He has an understanding of the needs of JABSOM, our community and health partners, Hawaii and beyond.”

Shomaker returns to JABSOM after serving as dean of the Austin campus for the University of Texas Medical Branch and dean and vice president at Texas A&M Health Science Center, according to a news release.

He previously served as vice dean of JABSOM from 2000 to 2005, and interim dean from 2005 to 2006.

He holds an MD from UH-Manoa, law degree from Georgetown University School of Law, and master’s degree in management from Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Shomaker was one of three final candidates selected earlier this year that included Interim Dean Dr. Lee Buenconsejo-Lum, a professor of family medicine and community health at JABSOM and Dr. Melissa Simon, a professor of clinical gynecology and vice chair of research in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine.

Each of the three were scheduled for a two-day visit at JABSOM that included a public presentation and meetings with faculty, staff and students.

Shomaker’s public presentation outlined his goals of making JABSOM the leading medical school in the Asia-Pacific region and the leading indigenous-serving medical school in the world.

“It is the highest professional honor of my career to be named the dean of my alma mater,” said Shomaker in the news release. “My senior quote upon graduation was ‘thank you for the opportunity to serve the people of the state of Hawaii.’ Now I get to realize that dream.”

Dr. Shomaker will serve as JABSOM’s sixth dean. JABSOM’s fifth dean, Dr. Jerris Hedges retired in March 2023 after serving 15 years.

“I am excited by the great potential of JABSOM, both in training the next generation of physicians for Hawaii and in contributing to the diversification of our economy through our research program,” said Shomaker. “I look forward to working with the faculty, staff and students of our school and our important clinical partners to make JABSOM all it can be for our state and its people.”

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