Ten students from disadvantaged backgrounds are on their way to becoming doctors after completing the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine's Imi Ho'ola Program.
UH program gives
students a chance
to become doctors
Imi Ho'ola helps those from
care for their communities
Addressing the students at a recent ceremony was Dr. Naleen Naupaka Andrade, clinical chair of the school's Department of Psychiatry and an Imi Ho'ola graduate.
She talked about growing up on the Big Island, her family's concerns about her entry into medical school and the challenges faced by young people targeted by Imi Ho'ola.
She also spoke of the unique point of view a Hawaiian background can add to the learning environment and how it is accepted by the UH School of Medicine.
The state and federally funded Imi Ho'ola Program provides educational opportunities for disadvantaged students who are capable of succeeding in medical school.
Ten students are chosen each year in conjunction with the Medical School's Native Hawaiian Center of Excellence to participate in the program.
This year's Imi Ho'ola graduates are Rosalie Cabrera of Kapolei, Chia Granda of Kapaa, Christina Kleinschmidt of Waianae, Van Luu of Honolulu, Trissy Mineshima of Kailua, Shyla Penaroza of Kaneohe, Greg Sakamoto of Waialua, Raymond Salazar of Waipahu, Raechel Torres of Hilo and Alan Wu of Aiea.
They will enter the first year of medical school in the fall after two weeks of summer internships on various islands, shadowing physicians who support the program.
Dr. Edwin Cadman, dean of the School of Medicine, said the Imi Ho'ola program "gives bright students from Hawaii and the Pacific islands an opportunity to become doctors who are much more likely to be committed to their local constituencies.
"It speaks to the important responsibility of this school, which is to provide education and research responsive to our unique cultural and geographic positioning in Hawaii and the Pacific."
Granda, representing the students, cited their commitment to improving access to health care for the underserved, particularly in Hawaii, and to creating a research work force that is diverse racially, ethnically and by gender.
University of Hawaii