University of Hawai`i (UH) President M.R.C. Greenwood congratulated the 55 new MD graduates of the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) today at the medical school’s Convocation Service by telling the new physicians she felt a special connection to them. “I feel a kind of kinship with this particular class because I started my service here at the university a month after you started at JABSOM in 2009.
So in many ways we are graduating together,” said Dr. Greenwood, who announced earlier this week that she would retire as president in September 2013. Dr. Greenwood is the first woman and 14th president to lead the UH.
The MD Class of 2013 President Krista Kiyosaki of Hilo told her fellow physicians, “Over the years we sometimes joked that the Class of 2013 was cursed, but in fact we were blessed.”
The MD Convocation Ceremony at the Kennedy Theatre fell on Mother’s Day, and many of our new doctors said the support of their mothers was extraordinarily important in sustaining them through four years of challenging work.
Each new physician wrote a sentence to be read by the emcee as the student presented a maile lei of thanks to the person they most wanted to thank. “Happy Mother’s Day,” said Kapolei resident Nicolas Villanueva, MD, to his mother, Karen Villanueva. As she wiped away tears of joy, he added, “Today I celebrate you and all your sacrifices. I love you”.
“My parents have been extremely patient with me over the years as well as loving and supportive,” said new Dr. Ashley Aratani. The audience burst into knowing laughter when she presented a lei to her father, Dale, as the emcee read Ashley’s her next line. “I will no longer be a financial parasite. Kinda,” she said. The average member of JABSOM’s graduating MD class is leaving medical school with $104,000 in educational debt.
JABSOM Medical Education Director Dr. Damon Sakai, a JABSOM alumnus, noted that the MD Class of 2013 is highly-skilled and smart. “You in the Class of 2013 hold the school record in the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam, Step 1,” he said. “Your score–11 points above the national average–stands as a record JABSOM.” The Class of 2013’s record is even more impressive when you consider that eight MD classes in a row at the school have outscored the national average on that important test.
Here are additional “Facts about our Class of 2013”:
The 55 members our class are Hawai`i’s newest doctors, but they’re not finished with their medical education. Their next step is training “on the job” as MDs under the supervision of faculty at academic training centers around the country, including in Hawai`i. This post-MD training, called “Residency”, can last from three years to eight years, depending on the specialty.
UH’s 55 new MDs “matched” into Residency Programs in 16 states, including the Internal Medicine, Pathology, Family Medicine and Orthopedic Surgery Programs in Honolulu, among 17 residency and fellowship programs overseen by JABSOM and its hospital partners at The Queen’s Medical Center, Hawai`i Pacific Health hospitals, Kuakini Medical Center, Wahiawā General Hospital, Kaiser Permanente, the Veterans Administration and other health care centers.
HAWAI`I’S LEADING SOURCE OF PHYSICIANS
The UH medical school is the overwhelming source of doctors for Hawai`i. Fifty percent of physicians currently treating patients are graduates of our MD or Residency Programs and/or serve on our faculty.
ALMOST 70% ARE GOING INTO PRIMARY CARE
Sixty-seven of our new MDs chose to enter into training in Primary Care Medicine*, which is the area of greatest need both in Hawai`i and across the U.S. The U.H. medical school has one of the highest percentages of graduates in the country choosing primary care medicine. Why that matters: According to the most recent Hawai`i Physician Workforce Assessment, our state already has 747 fewer doctors than it should have, based on its population. The shortage is expected to increase to a deficit of 1,448 physicians by 2020. The shortage is greatest in *primary care fields, which by JABSOM’s measure include Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Pediatrics and Obstetrics-Gynecology.
THE CLASS OF 2013 IS ABOVE AVERAGE
The Class of 2013 scored 11 points above the national average in the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE), Step 1, a test required for all U.S. medical students. From their first year in medical training, JABSOM MD students are taught in small groups led by physician faculty, learning from actual patient cases, with intensive dialog. Our problem-based curriculum also includes hands-on work with volunteer “simulated patients” (those acting as patients) and robotic patient simulation during all four years of MD study. JABSOM USMLE scores (eight consecutive years of above-national average results) seem to confirm the JABSOM curriculum is effective in helping students retain information, and become independent, lifelong learners.
STATEWIDE TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES
In their third years of study, JABSOM MD students have the opportunity to have clinical, problem-based learning experiences in locations statewide, from ʻEleʻele on Kaua’i to North Hawaiʻi on Hawaiʻi Island, thanks to the more than 1,000 local physicians (many JABSOM graduates) who volunteer on our faculty. Exposing future MDs to rural practice health care settings increases the likelihood that they may choose to practice in underserved communities.
JABSOM PRODUCES HAWAI`I’s “BEST DOCTORS”
Best Doctors in America identifies Hawaiʻi’s Best Doctors every June. Almost 80% of those chosen annually are JABSOM `ohana, those who trained at JABSOM and/or are faculty who treat patients in Hawai’i while teaching our future doctors.
JABSOM attracts more than $42 million annually in external funding which flows into the Hawaiʻi economy through grant-funded jobs, local supply/equipment purchases and construction. The economic boost is compounded by the education of local men and women who enter Hawaiʻi’s workforce every year in higher-than-average paying jobs because JABSOM trained them in Hawaiʻi as physicians, scientists and medical technologists.
FAMILIES SACRIFICE, AND JABSOM IS GRATEFUL FOR STATE TAXPAYER SUPPORT TO PRODUCE DOCTORS FOR HAWAI`I
In Residency, our graduates will begin to earn a salary. They’ll need it. On average, individual medical students who graduate from JABSOM have $104,586 in educational debt. As a class, the totals can seem staggering. JABSOM’s current MD student debt** is:
$2.2 million owed by 48 members of our MD Class of 2015
$3.4 million owed by 53 members of our MD Class of 2014
$3.9 million owed by 42 members of our MD Class of 2013
NOTE: The average family income** of our students (their parents) is $85,000. Ninety percent of JABSOM’s MD classes are made up of Hawai`i residents.
(**Source: Association of American Medical Colleges-AAMC- 2012)
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