SLIDESHOW: “THOSE WHO SEEK TO HEAL”: 40th anniversary class completes program to recruit aspiring MDs from under-represented communities

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For 40 years, the medical school has excelled in training new generations of  physicians who are from under-served communities. With generous financial support from The Queen’s Health Systems and the Hawai`i State Legislature, the University of Hawai`i has recruited 234 men and women from disadvantaged backgrounds into a special MD preparation program, The `Imi Ho`ōla (“Those who seek to heal”) Post-Baccalaureate Program.

Through intensive study during a one-year period, `Imi Ho’ōla, helps aspiring doctors improve their understanding of biomedical sciences and the humanities, preparing them to excel at medical school. If they complete the program — which most of them describe as one of the most difficult, challenging years of their lives — the students are guaranteed acceptance into the next MD Class at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM).

The best part? At least 80% of the doctors trained through the `Imi program are practicing medicine in under-served neighborhoods in Hawai`i where they are needed most, and 40% of them are Native Hawaiians.

On June 12, a celebration honored that remarkable achievement by the `Imi Class of 2012-2013, and the 40th anniversary of the `Imi program.  The six who have completed the program have been accepted into the John A. Burns School of Medicine’s MD Class of 2017. They will join their classmates at the White Coat Ceremony on July 19, 2013, as all 66 members of the Class take the Oath of Hippocrates and get “cloaked” in the waist-length white coats they will wear during their clinical studies.

Our newest `Imi grad members of the MD Class of 2017 are:

  • Courtney Gaddis, Honolulu
  • Caleb Jeon, Honolulu
  • Nohea Leatherman-Arkus, Honolulu
  • Amanda Mesa, Yigo, Guam
  • Yuho Ono, Honolulu
  • Nash Witten, Haleiwa

About our photograph: Graduates surrounded by `Imi faculty and staff as well as members of the Friends of `Imi.  (The Friends awarded each student a $1,000 Friends of `Imi Tuition Assistance award.)  

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