Record number of Native Hawaiian students become medical doctors

May 17th, 2010

A record number of Native Hawaiian students became medical doctors over the weekend.  Twelve of the 58 students who earned their MD from the University of Hawaii’s John A. Burns School of Medicine, were of Native Hawaiian decent.

According to preliminary research by the medical school that was reported to the 2010 state Legislature, Hawaii is currently short by 500 practicing physicians, with more than a quarter of the doctors who are in practice already at retirement age. To help meet the need demonstrated by that data, the incoming class at the University will be increased to 64 students in July.

The list of graduates included Kamehameha Schools alum Jordan Lee (JABSOM 2010 class president), and Marcus Iwane, the American Medical Association 2008 Minority Scholar.

Ninety percent of all students attending the medical school are Hawaii residents. Fifteen of the class will perform training in the Hawai‘i Residency Program. Through the program, the medical school partners with major medical centers statewide to annually train more than 200 graduated MDs in internal medicine, general surgery, geriatric medicine, family practice, psychiatry (general, geriatric, child and adolescent and addictions), obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, pathology and orthopedic surgery.

The school is also increasing its Imi Ho’ola (“Those Who Seek to Heal”) Post-Baccalaureate Program from its current 10 to 12 students. Each year, successful graduates of the one-year “medical boot camp” at Imi Ho‘ola are admitted into the incoming class of medical students. The program helps boost medical school enrollment by students from socially, culturally or economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

In addition to the 58 medical doctors that graduated over the weekend, JABSOM issued additional degrees in the following areas: 6 Doctors of Philosophy (PhD), 2 Doctors of Public Health (DPH), 18 Master’s of Public Health (MPH), 7 Master’s in Biomedical Sciences (MBS), 10 Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders (BS), and 10 Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology.

Contributed by The Maui News.