Categorized | Health

Twelve aspiring doctors begin Imi Hoola Program

Front row, left to right: Brian Imada of Honokaa; Paul Muna Aguon of Chalan Pago, Guam; Roshan Pillai of Hilo; Zak Ritchey of Wahiawa. Second row: Jessica Yuen of Kapolei; January May Andaya of Honolulu; Crystal Lam of Aiea, Janelle Otsuji of Ewa Beach; Karra Imoto of Hilo; Andrea Bucci of Honolulu; Jessica Fabrigas of Aiea; and Jolana Goller of Waipahu. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Chung-Eun Ha)


Twelve new students at the University of Hawaii Manoa’s John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) have entered the Class of 2011-12 in the Imi Hoola Post-Baccalaureate Program, one of the most successful programs in the country to promote diversity in medicine.

This year’s incoming class includes three students from the Big Island – a part of the state where the physician shortage is greatest – eight are from Oahu, and one from Guam.

Eight of the 12 are women, and eight are graduates of the University of Hawaii Manoa.

Eight are graduates of public high schools, including Honokaa High, Hilo High, Pearl City High, Aiea High, Kalani High, Kapolei High and Leilehua High School. The private school foursome includes graduates of Sacred Hearts, Kamehameha Schools, Maryknoll and Father Duenas Memorial School (in Guam).

Imi Hoola, a program within the medical school’s Department of Native Hawaiian Health, seeks out promising college graduates from disadvantaged or under-served communities, offering them a year of intensive preparation for medical school.

By completing the training, they earn a place in the next class of MD students.

The program has produced more than 200 physicians, including a former state director of health, Chiyome Fukino, MD, the chief medical officer at The Queen’s Medical Center, Gerard Akaka, MD, JABSOM’s Chair of Psychiatry, Naleen Andrade, MD, and many other outstanding physicians who have gone on to serve, and “give back to” the communities from which they came.

In the Native Hawaiian language, Imi Hoola means “Those Who Seek to Heal.”

The Department of Native Hawaiian Health and Imi Hoola have received major support from The Queen’s Medical Center.

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