This past weekend, the Native Hawaiian members of the MD Class of 2012 gathered to craft a kīhei, or a Hawaiian cloak, a garment that rests over one shoulder. Each kīhei tells the story of that student’s journey to medicine. It is the custom for the kauka ‘ōpio (young doctor) to make his/her own kīhei.
Similar to a physician’s white coat worn by all U.S. physicians, the kīhei symbolizes the responsibility the young people embrace as future Native Hawaiian physicians. The Kīhei Ceremony also includes mentoring from current kauka who will speak to the importance of kuleana (responsibility), pono (doing what is right), and lōkahi (teamwork).