Medical School Professor Selected to Lead the Hawaiʻi Department of Health

Elizabeth “Libby” Char, an assistant clinical professor of surgery at the John A. Burns School of Medicine of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, has been chosen by Hawai’i; Governor David Ige to serve as interim director of the Hawaiʻi Department of Health.

In accepting the appointment, Dr. Char stated that “I am honored to fill the position of director of health for the State of Hawaiʻi. We are in a difficult position, with a heavy burden of COVID-19 affecting the health, well-being and livelihood of so many of us. We must move forward together, through collaborative efforts, caring for each other with a shared sense of purpose. In doing so, we will regain the health of our communities and our state.”

A graduate of the University of Hawai’i medical school, Dr. Char returned to Hawaiʻi after completing residency training in California to practice emergency medicine at Queen’s Medical Center. She has a wealth of clinical and administrative experience, previously serving as the State of Hawaiʻi EMS district medical director for Oʻahu. She provided administrative oversight for the City and County of Honolulu EMS system for many years and has expertise in training EMS providers in the state of Hawaiʻi.

“Dr. Char will add much value in her new role. She brings extensive experience working with the state and city/county health enterprises. They value her collaborative leadership style that manages both the big picture and key details,” said Jerris Hedges, dean of the University of Hawai’i medical school.

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