Michele Carbone, the embattled leader of the University of Hawaii Cancer Center who resigned on Friday, has issued a detailed account of his triumphs while director of the center.
In the statement released to the media this week, he also accuses his critics of being motivated by “jealousy and envy,” and the media of perpetuating “gratuitous and false attacks” on his record.
Carbone will stay on at the Cancer Center, focusing on his research.
UH Cancer Center Director Dr. Michele Carbone.
PF Bentley/Civil Beat
Carbone was hired to the lead the Cancer Center by Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw in 2008. At the time, the center was at risk of losing its National Cancer Institute designation and wasn’t working effectively with UH’s John A. Burns School of Medicine and local hospitals, he wrote.
“The dream of having a new Cancer Center building — one of the NCI expectations — seemed an impossibility,” Carbone wrote. “After years of discussions about the building project, there was not even a final agreement on where to build it, nor were there architectural plans to design the building.”
Under his leadership, he said, the Cancer Center formed a partnership with the medical center, as well as Queens Medical Center, Hawaii Pacific Health and Kuakini.
“The consortium worked in complete harmony for the past six years,” he wrote, and as a result, permits for clinical trials were sped up, reducing the need for Hawaii residents to travel to the mainland for such treatment.
Carbone also highlighted his fundraising successes, saying the center brought in on average $5 million a year, compared to $300,000 to $400,000 annually during the five years before he became director.
Carbone said that in 2012 the Cancer Center was reviewed by 20 consultants hired by the National Cancer Institute and received an overall performance rating of “excellent,” affording the center an automatic five-year NCI certification. His performance as director was rated “outstanding.” (UH has recognized these achievements in the past.)
Carbone also responded to his critics.A number of Cancer Center faculty have accused him of poor leadership, leading to heavy turnover among administrative and fiscal staff and the departure of successful faculty members. He’s been accused of placing derogatory materials in personnel files and attempting to remove senior investigators from their own grants by fabricating facts.
Our “success led also to some jealousy and envy,” Carbone wrote. “In addition, there were some people who did not like the changes we needed to implement in order to create a culture of productivity, accountability and meritocracy.”
Carbone said some of the media’s coverage of him has been unfair, but he was instructed by the university not to respond to it.
“For the past year we — and I in particular — have been the target of several gratuitous and false attacks by some news media that did not bother to check the facts,” he wrote. “These attacks have not been easy on my family. The University requested that I not respond to any of the media attacks because it was felt that any response would potentially create more controversy, so I was unable to correct any of the misinformation being circulated in the media.”
A university spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.