Categorized | Health

Future physicians train in Neighbor Island communities

MEDIA RELEASE

The Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA) Medical School Travel Support Program has provided nearly $90,000 to subsidize travel and living expenses for medical students assisting physicians on Kauai, Lanai, Maui, Molokai, and Hawaii (Hilo and Kona). 

The program, part of a two-year commitment with the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM), provides valuable Neighbor Island training opportunities for students and much needed health care resources for rural communities.

The HMSA Medical School Travel Support Program makes it possible for additional medical students to perform rotations on the Neighbor Islands where they work with rural physicians to help improve access to quality health care in those communities. 

The program gives Oahu medical students valuable experience that may help shape their decisions about where to practice.

“In an effort to ‘grow our own healers,’ HMSA and JABSOM joined forces last year to provide more medical school students with the opportunity to train on the Neighbor Islands,” said HMSA Senior Vice President Cliff Cisco. “Ultimately, we hope some students return to the Neighbor Islands to practice. In the meantime, they are helping local physicians and rural communities.”

“By working in rural areas, our medical students find out what wonderful practice opportunities there are all across Hawaii,” said Kelley Withy, M.D., associate professor at JABSOM. “HMSA funding has allowed many more students to have these experiences, and we hope the program will grow in the coming year so we can encourage more to practice on the Neighbor Islands.

Program highlights include:

* Six first-year medical school students worked in Kalaupapa under the direction of Kalani Brady, M.D., and provided assistance to physicians in the remote area of Molokai.

* Eight students in the Imi Hoola program provided medical services to rural communities. (Imi Hoola is a 12-month post-baccalaureate program in the Department of Native Hawaiian Health that gives qualified candidates from disadvantaged backgrounds an opportunity to gain valuable experiences and succeed in medical school.)

The John A. Burns School of Medicine, UH Manoa was established in 1965 and has trained more than 4,500 medical doctors (medical school and residency program) to date. 

Approximately half of the physicians practicing in Hawaii are graduates of the John A. Burns School of Medicine MD or residency program.

The University of Hawaii Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawaii System.  

Its mission is to unite donors’ passions with the University of Hawaii’s aspirations to benefit the people of Hawaii and beyond. This is done by raising private philanthropic support, managing private investments, and nurturing donor and alumni relationships.

HMSA is a nonprofit, mutual benefit association founded in Hawaii in 1938. It is governed by a community board of directors that includes representatives from health care, business, labor, government, education, clergy, and the community at large. HMSA is a member of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans. 

Nationally, HMSA and 38 other Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans provide worldwide coverage to more than 100 million members.

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