VIDEO! Called to serve their Hawai`i home, hear students and MDs tell lawmakers why JABSOM Native Hawaiian Health programs are vital to the State

A hearing at the Hawai`i State Legislature motivated generations of medical doctors and aspiring physicians to reach out to lawmakers. Testifying both in person and by submitting written statements, the physicians and students have all been trained at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM). Of particular interest to them are programs administered by the JABSOM Department of Native Hawaiian Health, including the `Imi Ho`ōla Post-Baccalaureate Program. `Imi recruits and intensively trains college graduates from underserved or disadvantaged backgrounds, empowering them to earn admission to JABSOM. Those testifying also praised the Native Hawaiian Center of Excellence (NHCOE), whose staff annually connect with more than 2,000 primary and secondary school students at Hawai`i public schools, encouraging young people to become interested in the full range of health care careers — from working at medical laboratories, to becoming nurses, EMTs, physicians, scientists and more.

Click to read testimony and follow the bill on the legislature’s website.

Hear from several of our students and the department chair, in this video taped at the Hawai`i State Legislature on February 4, 2013. More than 90 people submitted testimony in support of Senate Bill 665 at the hearing of the Senate Committee on Health.

Our main photograph shows `Imi student Courtney Gaddis speaking to the committee.

Story, video and photographs by Tina Shelton.