Medical student presented 2014 Excellence in Public Health Award

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Tina Shelton, (808) 692-0897
Communications Director, JABSOM, Office of Dean of Medicine
Posted: May 4, 2014

Brandyn Dunn, right, with Dr. Alan Katz.
Brandyn Dunn, right, with Dr. Alan Katz.

John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) second-year medical student Brandyn Dunn was presented with 2014 Excellence in Public Health Award at the Fourth Annual Distinguished Lecture and Induction Ceremony at UH Mānoa.

The award recognizes medical students who show their dedication to public health by making exceptional contributions to the community through ​U.S. health ​initiatives, including​​ Healthy People 2020 and the National Prevention Strategy. ​

The award was created by the the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) to inspire medical students to commit themselves to public health and to become leaders in the field.

Each year, every U.S. medical school is able to nominate one student who has worked hard to increase awareness about health care and put that knowledge into action.

This year, Dunn was recognized for his commitment to public health as the volunteer coordinator of Hui Ola Pono, a public health student organization.  He also co-founded Teen Health Camp Hawai`i, a program that has helped more than 500 disadvantaged high school students overcome academic struggles and seek mentors in higher education in public health and medicine, and consider health-focused careers.

“Along with Teresa Schiff (fourth-year medical student) and Eduardo Duquez (JABSOM Alumni '13), I established Teen Health Camp Hawai`i in 2009 to inspire local students to enter the field of health care and hopefully help combat our state’s terrifying shortage in health-care workers," said Dunn.  "Teen Health Camp Hawai`i is a motivational career-oriented program targeted at underrepresented middle and high school students in rural Hawai`i. This program is designed to attract minority students to health-care careers through fun and interactive workshops in health-care training, while also teaching students about opportunities and options in higher education,” said Dunn.

Dunn, who is the MD Class of 2016 President, earned his Master’s in Public Health (MPH) in Epidemiology at the UHM in 2011, and was inducted into the Hawai`i Delta Omega Society that same year. Apart from receiving the 2014 Excellence in Public Health Award, Dunn was honored with the Koseki Award for Excellence in Community Service during his MPH studies and the 2013 American Heart Association Student Scholarship in Cardiovascular Disease for his research efforts at the medical school.

Dunn counts among his mentors Public Health Studies Professor Alan Katz, whom he worked closely with during his MPH studies.

Dr. Katz described some of Dunn’s work in the nomination paper he transmitted to the public health service.  “Mr. Dunn’s final project for his MPH degree was an ambitious survey of hospital and community-based health professionals in Hawai`i on the topic of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections,” Dr. Katz wrote.

“Working closely with his practicum advisor, the late Dr. Alan Tice, a professor at our School of Medicine and an infectious disease specialist, he developed and pilot tested a survey tool which addressed knowledge of the epidemiology of MRSA and attitudes towards antibiotic resistance. He then distributed the survey on line, analyzed and interpreted the findings, and published his findings in the Hawai`i Journal of Medicine and Public Health,” Katz said.

Dunn expressed his gratitude to Dr. Katz and to JABSOM’s Dean. “I would not have been able to receive this (Excellence in Public Health) award without the support from the JABSOM faculty, specifically Dr. Katz and Dean ​Jerris​ Hedges, who ultimately nominated me for this award,” said Dunn.

The Distinguished Lecture and Induction Ceremony was sponsored by the Hawai`i Delta Omega Society on April 8, 2014.

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