“Life changing”, “a dream maker”… these are just some of the descriptions being used at the Hawai’i State Capitol by MDs and aspiring MDs as they talk about programs the University of Hawai’i’s John A. Burns School of Medicine offers through the Native Hawaiian Center of Excellence (NHCOE). The NHCOE reaches out to more than 2,500 students from kindergarten to college every year, inspiring them to choose health care careers to meet the workforce needs of Hawai`i.
The ‘Imi Ho`ōla (“Those who seek to heal”) Post-Baccalaureate Program identifies and nurtures aspiring physicians from disadvantaged backgrounds, preparing them to succeed in medical school. Thirty-eight percent of the 226 MDs the ‘Imi program has produced so far are Native Hawaiians. An astonishing 95% of them return to the underserved communities they came from to practice medicine there.
Listen in this video story as Nina Beckwith tells how she has been inspired by the “Path to Medicine” program of the NHCOE.
Ms. Beckwith is a 7th grade science teacher at Wai’anae Intermediate School who says she has realized she needs to become a physician to make a lasting impact on health problems which are killing her primarily Native Hawaiian students and their family members, including diabetes and heart disease.
The video runs 1:25
Story and video by Tina Shelton.