STUDENTS: Nine from `Imi Ho`ōla are first of Class of 2016 MD students on campus

(Archived June 20, 2012) Nine students of the`Imi Ho`ōla (Those who seek to heal) Post-Baccalaureate Program are about to complete their year long intensive study at the University of Hawai`i’s John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM). Sometimes described as a “boot camp for medical school”, those who successfully finish the program gain automatic admission into the newest MD class at the JABSOM.

Holding acceptance letters to the UH John A. Burns School of Medicine

The nine are pictured, left, holding their hard-earned acceptance letters from the medical school. From left, they are Brian Imada of Honoka`a, Jessica Yuen of Kapolei, Karra Imoto of Hilo, Jolana Gollero of Waipahu, Paul Muna Aguon of Guam, Andrea Bucci of Honolulu, January Andaya of Honolulu, Crystal Lam of Aiea, and Janelle Otsuji of Ewa Beach. In July they will be part of the “White Coat Ceremony” celebrating the entry of the entire MD Class of 2016.

For more than three decades, `Imi Ho`ōla has recruited promising students from historically under-represented and/or disadvantaged communities, helping them to successfully enroll in medical school and become physicians. More than 225 physicians — 40% of them Native Hawaiians — have graduated from the John A. Burns School of Medicine through the Imi Ho`ola program. Nearly all of them have returned to their under-served communities to provide needed medical care.

The `Imi Ho`ōla Post-Baccalaureate Program Completion Ceremony held on June 13 “marks an important milestone in the students’ careers, recognizing their academic accomplishments, professional development and individual perseverance”, said Dr. Winona Lee, Director of the program and the Native Hawaiian Center of Excellence at JABSOM.

The ceremony began at 5:30 p.m. in the Medical Education Building Auditorium at 651 Ilalo Street in Kaka`ako.  A highlight of the completion ceremony was a moving video, which the students produce themselves to tell theirpersonal stories.

Click here to see additional photos from the 2012 `Imi Ho`ōla Completion Ceremony.

In April, each of the nine `Imi students received $1,000 tuition assistance awards from the “Friends of `Imi Ho`ōla”. (Our main photo shows the nine students, seated, surrounded by the Friends members and faculty of the JABSOM Department of Native Hawaiian Health.) Mahalo also to The Queen’s Health Systems, which helps to fund the opportunity for a total of 12 promising students to enter the `Imi Ho’ōla program each year. The next class of 12 enters JABSOM in July.