Medical students Brad Kamitaki, Huy Do, Yvonne Lum, and Hezhi Gan are in the Onelauena homeless shelter, surrounding a man with care. This spot, on O`ahu’s leeward coast, is probably the last place in the world the man expected to find young University of Hawai`i medical students. They encircle him, working together to clean and dress his wound.
Three times a week, similar scenes of hope and help play out at four O`ahu homeless shelters, where John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) students hold clinics for the adults and children who live there. It’s a critical service the school has provided for almost seven years.
“We see around 30 patients a week at the different shelters and have continued our wonderful working relationship with all of them,” said Dr. Jill Omori, JABSOM Family Medicine Professor and the founder of the HOME (Homeless Outreach and Medical Education) Project.
Omori and her MD student volunteers never stop finding new ways to help. “This past year we started a mentoring program for the homeless teens called HYPE (Hawai`i Youth Program for Excellence), where we provide monthly sessions with them on various topics, including drugs, bullying, family planning/STDs, and career planning,” said Dr. Omori.
You can help HOME and its medical missions by learning more at www.hawaiihomeproject.org