Bitten by the “I want to be a doctor” bug during a week at UHMED

Fifty-nine high school students gained a rare insight into what medical school is like through a week-long program at the University of Hawai`i John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) this summer. The “Science in Action” program, a collaboration between JABSOM and the UH Mānoa Outreach College, offered the students training in how to greet patients and perform a basic medical examination and the opportunity to learn up-close about human anatomy.

“That was my favorite part. It was amazing. I actually held a heart in my hand,” said Vivian De Alameida of Kapolei High School, one of the participants. Before the course she told us she didn’t think she had what it takes to become a physician. On her third day, she declared, “I would definitely say I’m cut out to become a physician.”

“We use things like mannequin simulations, said Dr. Damon Sakai, JABSOM Director of the Office of Medical Education. “We have robots that can speak with you and talk with you, they have a pulse the students can feel and listen,” he said, describing another part of medical school training to which the students were exposed.

“Our hope is that the students will come out of this feeling a lot more confident that this is something they can do,” said Outreach College Dean Bill Chismar.


The Outreach College – JABSOM Class of 2013.

And it worked. You could feel the inspiration growing among the students, who came from 11 different public schools on O`ahu and Hawai`i Island, eight private schools, and from the U.S. Mainland, Hong Kong and Japan.

On their third day of class, Brenna Dela Rosa of University Laboratory High School echoed what De Alameida said. “Now that I’ve gotten an insight into what’s its like inside a medical school,” said Dela Rosa, “it definitly seems like something I could do and love.”

Meet the students in our video, and listen in as they get a lecture by Dr. Sakai that is punctuated by a lot of laughter.

To learn more about the Summer 2013 programs which were offered this year, see