University of Hawaii Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Program

Photo of University of Hawaii fellows, faculty and staff

The ACGME-accredited fellowship program in Geriatric Medicine at the University of Hawaii began in 1986 as a two-year program, and has grown to its current size of 11 fully funded fellowship positions.   As of the summer of 2015, there will be 171 fellowship graduates.  All graduates are certified or eligible for Board Certification in Geriatric Medicine. The program has an excellent Geriatrics Board examination pass rate, many with scores well surpassing the national average. The program is currently one of the largest fellowship programs in the United States. The Department of Geriatric Medicine has strong educational, clinical, and research programs. The academic environment for fellows and junior faculty is rich with activities and opportunities.

Department Chair:
Kamal Masaki, M.D.

Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Program Director:
 Aida B. Wen, M.D.

Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Program Selection Committee Chair:
Bruce K. Tamura, M.D.

Geriatric and Palliative Medicine Clerkship Director:
Aida B. Wen, M.D.

Director Of Research:
Bradley J. Willcox, M.D.

Palliative Medicine Division Chief:
Daniel J. Fischberg, M.D. PhD

For more information on the University of Hawaii Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Program please contact: 

Danielle Kamalani-Patoc
Tel: (808) 523-8461


1) Department of Geriatric Medicine:  The John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii is the fourth school in the country to have Geriatric Medicine as a full department.  This reflects the strong support for geriatrics from the leadership of the medical school.  The Department of Geriatric Medicine has strong educational, clinical, and research programs, and a rich academic environment.

2) Division of Palliative Medicine:  A division of Palliative Medicine was established in 2005 in the department.  To date, 24 faculty members are board certified in Palliative Medicine, and excellent training in palliative medicine is provided for fellows, residents and students.  We hope to have a palliative medicine fellowship program in the future.

3) Hawaii and the Pacific Basin:  The medical school and the Geriatric Education Center are involved with interdisciplinary teaching and research in several Pacific Basin nations and territories. These currently include Japan, Korea, Palau, and the Republic of Marshall Islands. 

4) Cross-cultural or minority aging:  Hawaii is the most culturally and ethnically diverse state in the U.S., providing unique challenges as well as opportunities in education and research.  In Hawaii, no ethnic group comprises a majority, mixed marriages are the norm, and the majority of babies born in Hawaii are of mixed ethnicity.  The geriatrics faculty, fellows and staff are also ethnically diverse, with Caucasian, French, German, Hungarian, Hawaiian, Indian, Pakistani, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Filipino, Vietnamese, African-American, Mexican and Portuguese cultures or languages currently represented.  There is excellent opportunity for cross-cultural studies.  The Department of Geriatric Medicine is committed to providing culturally competent health care to older people.

5) Epidemiological Research Studies:  There are several large epidemiological studies in Hawaii, in which faculty members from the department have key roles.  Several faculty are internationally renowned investigators.

Affiliated with these studies are many experienced researchers who are available for collaboration with the fellows in the design and implementation of their research projects.  Many fellows have had the opportunity to perform secondary data analysis from the Honolulu Heart Program, Honolulu-Asia Aging Study and associated studies.

6) Education Grants:  The Department has received several education grants.

7) Research in Medical Education:  At the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM), there is a required curriculum in geriatrics for medical students in all years of training, and for most of the residency programs.  JABSOM is increasingly being recognized as a national leader and pioneer in development and implementation of validated and innovative curricula such as problem-based learning methods, the use of standardized patients and clinical skills evaluation.  The Department has developed a database with quantitative outcome information for trainees at all levels, to provide opportunities for research in medical education.

8) Quality Improvement Projects:  The faculty and fellows in the department have participated in several QI projects, which have partly fulfilled the ACGME requirement to provide fellows with training and experience in the core competencies of Practice-Based Learning and Improvement and Systems-Based Practice.  These include:

•                     The Polypharmacy Outcomes Project, which was performed for two years by faculty and fellows to decrease polypharmacy in nursing home patients.  Results from this project have been published in three peer-reviewed publications.

•                     The IMPRESS (Improving Professional Education, Sustaining Support) Project, which implemented a Quality Improvement program for palliative care education in 5 nursing homes.  Results from this project have been published in 2 publications. 

•                     The Depression Quality Improvement Project was started in the 2011-12 academic year.  This project implemented evidence-based interdisciplinary team performance improvement education on the recognition, assessment and management of depression in long-term care.  Data analyses from this project are in progress.

9) Academic Activities and Productivity:  Faculty members and fellows in the department actively participate in academic activities. Over the past 10 years, there have been almost 400 publications from the department (average 40 each year) and over 400 abstracts presented (average 40 each year).  This provides a rich academic environment for junior faculty and fellows.

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