Dee-Ann Carpenter


Assistant Professor,
John A. Burns School of Medicine

Cultural resonance is a passion and a commitment of Dr. Dee-Ann L. Carpenter in her teaching at the John A Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM). One of the curricula that she teaches is that of having a sense of place tied to the land that feeds and grounds all of us in the islands. At the core of her philosophy of teaching is a commitment to generate self-directed critical thinkers, a process she articulates as building an unwavering wall of knowledge on a strong base constructed by students as they bring to the wall new pohaku (rocks) of knowledge and make connections that fortify it. This mastery of knowledge, skills and attitude must be accompanied by students grounded in a sense of place and where they come from, in order to make a connection with the patient and to build trust in a clinical setting. Students credit Professor Carpenter with leading by example, in balancing the art of western as well as traditional medicine, and in establishing relationships with patients in the community and their ‘ohana as well as with national and international practitioners in medical settings and conferences. One demonstrable outcome of Professor Carpenter’s influence in this respect is expressed by students completing their medical education prepared to serve rural, indigenous and underserved communities in primary health care across the islands. One student has dubbed Dr. Carpenter the “Swiss Army knife” physician because of her flexibility in being able to masterfully serve distinctively diverse individuals and communities with an enormous range of health concerns from chronic disease to mental health, and then to influence medical students to want to learn what is required to follow along that path as well. Her colleagues speak extensively to the scope of her extensive influence within JABSOM including as founder of such programs and initiatives as the ‘Imi Ho’õla Post-Baccalaureate Program, Native Hawaiian Center of Excellence and the Certificate of Distinction in Native Hawaiian Health. In communities across the islands, she has held leadership in extensive programs across the islands, nationally and internationally. In every setting, Dr. Dee-Ann L. Carpenter is considered to be a brilliant clinician who is masterful in relating to patients and teaching learners to navigate the complexities and intricacies of medical diagnosis and treatment.

John A Burns School of Medicine