College of Pharmacy invests in local health care with contribution to HMC

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Date: Monday, May 6, 2013
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

Students, faculty and staff from The Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy (DKICP) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo teamed up to collect more than $7,000 to support the Hilo Medical Center Foundation Adopt-A-Room Project. The gift was presented to Julie Tulang, president of Hilo Medical Center Foundation, at DKICP’s 2013 Spring Awards Celebration May 1 at Sangha Hall.

The announcement was meant to surprise Dean John Pezzuto, said Daniel Watanabe, student pharmacist and 2015 class president.

“The entire College kept this a secret from the Dean so we could surprise you as a way to say ‘thank you’ for everything you do,” Watanabe told the crowd of about 200 people. “Please know that the College appreciates you and each and every one of us is proud to be able to say that you are the Dean of our College.”

Pezzuto, who has been Dean of the College since 2006, is a member of the Board for the Hilo Medical Center Foundation. The Adopt-a-Room Project aims to collect money to renovate 14 semi-private and 18 private patient-care rooms in the Medical Unit.

“Hilo Medical Center has been central to many DKICP student pharmacists learning experience,” Pezzuto explained. “I joined the Board as a way to give back to my community, and have been rewarded by the many good friends I have made there. This evening was definitely a nice surprise that came at a time when we all needed a boost. There were tears in my eyes.”

The students spearheaded the collection of the funds with the help of Student Support Specialist Tracey Niimi and faculty member Mimi Pezzuto. Presidents from all of the College of Pharmacy student organizations, including the class council presidents, met before spring break in March.

Lori Rogers, executive director of the Hilo Medical Center Foundation, stated, “The Foundation is excited to receive a donation from the faculty and students of The Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy honoring Dr. John Pezzuto. The patients that have occupied the renovated rooms have been very pleased with the results. This is truly an endeavor that is making an impact with the community.”

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