Archive News and Press Releases

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The National Health Service Corps (NHSC)Students to Service (S2S) Loan Repayment Program The National Health Service Corps (NHSC)Students to Service (S2S) Loan Repayment Program 2013 cycle is opened this month and close December 5, 2012. The S2S “pilot” program is in its 2nd year of funding and provides loan repayment assistance of up to $120,000 to allopathic and osteopathic medical students in their last year of school in return for a commitment to provide primary health care services in eligible Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) of greatest need.
This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in pursuing primary care and has outstanding qualifying educational loans. Below are some program specifics you can share with anyone that may be eligible or interested in applying. The NHSC would like your support with spreading the word and thanks in advance for your support!
NHSC S2S loan repayment award recipients can receive up to $120,000 for three years of full-time or six years of part-time service. completion of residency, S2S loan repayment recipients serve as primary care providers in an NHSC-approved site in a high-need HPSA.
Eligibility for this program is open to medical students (MD/DO) in the 4th year of their program. This program is seeking applicants who demonstrate the characteristics for, and interest in serving the nation’s medically underserved populations beyond their service commitment. Interested students can learn more about the Students to Service Loan Repayment Program here.
Na Pua No’eau Learning Opportunities in Medicine Institute (LOMI CAMP) held on July 10, 2012 at the Hilo Medical Center Since the summer of 2011, the term Lomi has been given additional meaning.  LOMI, Learning Opportunities in Medicine Institute, is a 2 week educational and cultural residential program that Na Pua No’eau, Center for Gifted and Talented Hawaiian children, conducts for children in grades 8-12. The Ka Hanu class of the 2012 LOMI program, consisting of middle school aged children, and joined by 2 college students, were exposed to, learned about, and experienced the diversity of health care careers when they visited Hilo Medical Center on July 10, 2012.    Meeting “Mr. Sim” (simulation mannequin) was a highlight, and participating in the  other planned activities and lunch, so excited the Ka Hanu class,  they were still buzzing with enthusiasm upon their return to the University of Hawaii-Hilo dorm which was ‘home’ for the 2 weeks. They were impressed with the diversity of  health care careers they could aspire to and were interested in pediatrics, OB/GYN, surgery, pharmacy, nursing and behavioral health.  Community resources, such as Hilo Medical Center, contribute to the success of the LOMI program as well as inspiring and nurturing Hawaii’s future health care providers. 


AHEC News: Issues causing a physician shortage in Hawaii discussed in Waimea

Eric Miller, 'West Hawaii Today'

May 4th, 2012

Doctors say they come to Hawaii Island for the quality of life, but money concerns show up in the top two tiers of priorities, according to a recently published survey of island clinicians.

“It’s other things that are getting in the way of staying for many physicians,” said Karen Pellegrin, director of continuing/distance education and strategic planning with the Center for Rural Health Science with the University of Hawaii-Hilo College of Pharmacy.

Pellegrin discussed the survey during a Waimea Community Association meeting Thursday evening at the Waimea Middle School cafeteria.

Community support is an issue, Dr. Dana Lee, a Waimea pediatrician, said. When her family moved to Hawaii from Arizona, she made community connections through her children’s swimming and soccer activities. Another doctor recruited had in-laws on Oahu. A third sought the opportunity to move from Los Angeles to Hawaii and quickly became involved in community groups.

“We’re not coming here for the money,” Lee said. “We’ve got to figure out how to attract people for different reasons.”

But money does have an impact on which doctors can move to Hawaii, she added. A new doctor will be saddled with significant debt, Lee said, and won’t be able to afford the size and style of home young doctors may want if they move to Hawaii.

Lee said she was also successful because she had previously owned a business and knew how to manage a practice.

One meeting attendee said her son is studying to become a doctor. Although he was born and raised in Hawaii, he said he was hesitant to return here because he worried he would be on call all the time.

That is an issue, Lee and Pellegrin said. Lee is on call more frequently — every third night and every third weekend — than the average medical resident.

“That is a lifestyle issue,” she said. “However, I can be at the beach at Mauna Kea and be on call at the same time. There aren’t many places in the world you can do that.”

Hawaii needs to reach a “critical mass,” Pellegrin added, in order to be able to recruit more doctors.

A Hawaii/Pacific Basin Area Health Education Center study estimated Hawaii Island is short about 33 percent of the doctors it needs, center Assistant Director Kristen Knudson said.

Some rough calculations, based on the population figures North Hawaii Community Hospital says it serves and the national ratio of doctors to residents, shows a shortage in North Hawaii of about 53 physicians, Knudson said.

Recruiting is one way to get doctors to Hawaii, but it’s not the one she believes is the most important.

“I cannot stress enough the importance of encouraging your students to pursue careers in health care,” Knudson said. “They’re the ones that come back.”

Schools should emphasize science and math education, and students should have more opportunities to job shadow with doctors and other health care workers and to volunteer in health care settings.

Meeting facilitator Paul Johnston said a doctor trying to move to Waimea cited the state’s education system, and its reputation for low scores on standardized tests. Good educational opportunities are especially important when younger physicians are being recruited, he added.

Business owners can also help with recruitment and retention, Knudson said, even by offering office space for medical students to use for educational space or finding community based housing for medical students. Waimea will be host to four medical students annually doing training here, she added.

The 2012 Hawaii Physician's Workforce Summit: April 14, 2012

Over 200 physicians and healthcare workers attended the 2012 Hawaii Physician's Workforce Summit
on Saturday, April 14 at the Sheraton Waikiki. The goal of the conference was to help Hawai‘i providers
(especially solo and small group) implement Patient Centered Medical Home transformation.

View the Physician Workforce Summit Booklet online.

To view powerpoint slides from the breakout sessions and morning presentations, click here.

Click here to check out the news coverage from the conference!

View video of the conference here:


Local Implementers of PCMH

Kyu Rhee Care Coordination

Options & Strategies

Team Based Collaborative Care



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NHSC Opportunities for Health Professionals

The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) is offering more money, through scholarship and loan repayment programs, than ever before thanks to a $1.5 billion increase in funding over the next 5 years from the Affordable Care Act. The NHSC helps Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) get their needed health providers. Here's a summary of each program:

"The NHSC scholarship is a competitive program that pays tuition, fees and provides a living stipend to students enrolled in accredited medical (MD or DO), dental, nurse practitioner, certified nurse midwife, and physician assistant training. Upon graduation, scholarship recipients serve as primary care providers between 2 and 4 years in a community-based site in a high-need Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) that has applied to and been approved by the NHSC as a service site.

The NHSC Loan Repayment Program offers fully trained primary care physicians (MD or DO), family nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, physician assistants, dentists, dental hygienists, and certain mental health clinicians $50,000 to repay student loans in exchange for 2 years serving in a community-based site in a high-need HPSA that has applied to and been approved by the NHSC as a service site."

Visit the NRSC site for more info.

(Story first posted August 24, 2010.)

Rural Health Pathway Video

JABSOM medical student Teresa Schiff briefly talks about her experiences with AHEC's Rural Health Pathway program.

"The 'Rural Health Pathway' program funded by HMSA is helping Hawaii to 'grow our own healers' by providing innovative, hands-on health career experiences, and mentoring to over 200 middle and high school students from Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Maui and Hawaii. The program sucessfully inspires confidence, imparts skills and students to explore the pathways towards a career in healthcare."

(Story first posted August 18, 2010.)

JABSOM News: "Medical School, Nursing, Pharmacy Team Up to Train Big Island Health Professionals, Provide Care"

The Hawai‘i Island Family Health Center is a first-of-its-kind for the Islands: a multi-disciplinary hub where patients may consult with physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses and pharmacists under one roof, and trainees in those professions can learn from each other.

Dr. Lucy Bucci, Site Director and physician with the John A. Burns School of Medicine’s Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, says patients already have commented about the opportunity to receive more comprehensive care.

“For example, with expertise from the UH Hilo School of Pharmacy, our patients are able to learn more about their medicines and how to adjust them to have better outcomes with diabetes and other diseases,” said Dr. Bucci. The Pharmacy School and the Baccalaureate Nursing Program at UH Hilo, and the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) and The School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene at UH Mānoa are partners in the clinic, along with the Hilo Medical
Center. The grand opening on October 24 capped a 15-year long effort to establish a place where the Big Island can
“grow its own” medical professionals.

Check out the article and photos in the JABSOM Newsletter of October-November 2009.

(Story first posted November 6, 2009.)

AHEC News: PEARLS Middle School Teacher Training a Success!

Pacific Education and Research for Leadership in Science,(PEARLS) is funded through an NIH Science Education Partnership Award grant to the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine. The goal of PEARLS is to increase knowledge of science and interest in science careers for middle school students in Hawaii, particularly the neighbor islands, and across the Pacific region, by developing and implementing an inquiry-based science curriculum that can be modified for relevance within the communities in which it is taught.

From June 15 to June 26, 2009, the PEARLS program conducted a training workshop for 17 teachers from the Big Island of Hawaii, Kauai, Molokai, American Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia and one lone teacher from Oahu, at Dr. Vivek Nerurkar’s laboratory at the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine in Honolulu. For the classroom laboratory experiments, the teachers learned by doing, assuming the role of student, and performed the experiments themselves. Mystery questions were correlated with each topic of study, serving as triggers for queries and discussions about real-world relevance of science. For example, in studying buoyancy, participants were asked “Why do some things float and some things sink?” Follow-up questions included “Could you use a coconut to keep you afloat? How about a banana?” Field trips to locations such as Bishop Museum, Kewalo Marine Laboratory, University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, Leahi Hospital’s Clinical Research Lab and the world class research facilities at JABSOM. Dr. Richard Kasuya introduced the participants to Problem-Based Learning while Bill Dendle from the Committee on Human Studies conducted a human subjects training session.

In addition, the teachers met with research and basic science faculty, including Dr. Nerurkar, Dr. Marla Berry, Dr. Mariana Gerschenson, Dr. George Hui, and Dr. Steven Labrash as well as students from the Pacific conducting summer research projects in Hawaii. i In this way, teachers learned about the opportunities for students to pursue research careers and increased their awareness of the ongoing research in the area. DVDs have been created highlighting careers of “local” people working in such diverse fields as marine biology, botany and medicine to demonstrate how science is all around us, and is a viable career option.

The workshop was a success, as measured by the high level of enthusiasm, as well as significant increases in teacher self efficacy, interest in teaching and feelings of collaboration and support. Participants have received all the supplies necessary to implement the curriculum in their classrooms, including computers, projectors, textbooks as well as laboratory supplies. Throughout the school year, teachers will participate in a social network forum to share resources, experiences and ideas and may ask for or provide mentorship to other teachers. Additionally, the PEARLS program staff will be conducting site visits to assist the teachers with implementation and learn about the resources available locally to make the curriculum more relevant.

(Story first posted October 8, 2009.)

AHEC News: Hawaii Rural Health Pathways

Thirty-one students from Kauai, Molokai, and Hawaii Island participated in the 'Navigating Your Future in Health Professions' conference on Oahu, in associaiton with the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the John A. Burns School of Medicine.

Find out all about it and more in the Hawaii Rural Health Pathways Newsletter of April 2009.

AHEC News: Funding Medical Student Travel to Neighbor Islands

AHEC Director Kelley Withy, MD received support for medical students travel to neighbor island clinical rotations. A 'Medical School Travel Support grant ' for $103,800 from HMSA provides travel funds for up to 25 medical students to perform clinical rotations in rural clinics and community health settings. AHEC's goal is to help ease health workforce shortages by increasing the diversity and distribution of health professionals throughout Hawai`i.

Read more about it in the JABSOM E NEWS Week Newsletter for the week of September 19, 2008.

(Story first posted September 19, 2008.)

AHEC News: Maui County AHEC Summer Health Institute

Huli Au Ola AHEC's 'Summer Health Leadership Institute' is an amazing annual adventure found only on Molokai! Summer Health Institute students apply creativity and problem solving to robotics project. Robotic technologies are increasingly being used in surgical and health related settings.

The ‘Huli Au Ola’ AHEC on Molokai hosted the 3rd Annual Summer Leadership Institute for students on July 12-19, 2008. The program officially launched a new 'Robotics Program' segment this year; critical thinking, teamwork and having fun are just some of the experiences that students on Molokai experienced this year. AHEC Executive Director Rosie Davis is pleased to announce that a grant from HMSA will allow the Summer Health Institute will expand its program activities. As a result of the additional funding, Rosie has also offered to hānai (adopt) students from Hawai‛i, Kauai and Maui to take part in the annual program in 2009 and 2010!

This year the event consisted of seven days in Kalaupapa and topside on Molokai. Health Career presentations began in Kalaupapa, with Dr. Kalani Brady sharing mana'o on health disparities and health issues, and Biologist Guy Hews sharing the future of Kalaupapa. Local healthcare professional educator Dr. Richard Rodriquez was Facilitator/Lecturer for the Summer Leadership students. Na Pu’uwai Native Hawaiian Health Care nurses and Quentin Burdick Rural Interdisciplinary students trained students how to take vital signs.

Additionally students received CPR training through Nā Pu‛uwai Native Hawaiian Health Care System and Emergency Preparedness with Diane Lobre from Department of Health. Lomi Lomi La’au Lapa Au by Keola Chan presented on Hawaiian medicine and native plants, the history and use of the Hawaiian people. Students will also take part in storytelling by nā kupuna of Molokai and Kalaupapa, and will work the ‛āina in the taro patches and the learn the history and health benefits of taro for the people of Hawai‛i. A new leadership component included Facilitator/Lecturer Teddy Sotelo, a certified leadership presenter. Teddy provides perspectives on the everyday challenges and rewards of health professionals. A new section has been added referring to the launch of Molokai’s ‘Robotic Program’ which focuses on the use of robotics used to perform surgical and medical needs for patients was be officially kicked-off during the Summer Leadership Program.

Cultural activities include reaching out to the ocean and learning the history of the canoe, the making of the canoe and paddling the canoe in the ocean. Students will receive a one (1) college credit syllabus class to students the course title: HLTH 90V – Careers in Health 1, CRN #48108.

AHEC News: Ke Anuenue AHEC (Hilo) MASH Camps

Carolyn Lucas, 'West Hawaii Today' July 23, 2008

"MASH Camp is a great, hands-on program because it opens doors to rural kids and helps them realize their potential. Hopefully the kids have fun and leave with a firmer idea of whether the health care industry is something they want to pursue," says Nicole Moore.

Photo by Brad Ballesteros

Dr. Barry Blum, (pictured above, right) , shows students attending the two-day Medical Academy of Science and Health workshop at Kona Community Hospital how to prep voluenteer patient Luke Van Der Spoel for a mock surgery. - . Students learned the average salaries for different health care professions, the amount of schooling required, the challenges faced and what a typical day entails.

During the "Inside of an Ambulance" workshop, Captain Cook Fire Station paramedic Mike Lam shared details of the worst car accident he responded to, which involved a woman he recognized from high school, who later went into cardiac arrest.

Throughout the presentation, Lam and emergency medical technician Jeff Kahakua congratulated students for "wanting to step into a field that most other people would rather run away from." While they've seen "nasty stuff," the colleagues concurred they receive immense satisfaction from helping others and doing the best they can to mitigate a bad situation, which often transforms into a good

Roxanne Bacxa dons her surgical attire before performing mock surgery on a fellow student volunteer patient.
one that is later rewarded with hugs, handshakes, words of gratitude or cookies.

Luke Van Der Spoel is undeterred by the challenges. The 13-year-old Innovations Public Charter School student said he is determined to follow in the footsteps of several family members and is "seeking occupation in the medical line of work." He was intrigued by diagnostic imagining and the technologies used. Van Der Spoel credited his mother, an occupational therapist at Kona Community Hospital, for encouraging his interest.

Nicole Moore, executive director for Ke Anuenue Area Health Education Center, said most children have little opportunity to explore different careers before being swept into college, part-time jobs and internships. The main goal of MASH Camp was to make students aware of the needs in the community, as well as the opportunities and resources available.

"This is a great, hands-on program because it opens doors to rural kids and helps them realize their potential," she said. "Hopefully the kids have fun and leave with a firmer idea of whether the health care industry is something they want to pursue."

Ke Anuenue AHEC received $20,000 from the Ouida & Doc Hill Foundation to put on 13 MASH Camps islandwide. This week's program was the third that the Hilo-based not-for-profit agency has co-sponsored, Moore said.

For more information about MASH Camp, call Emily Mendez-Bryant, Kona Community Hospital spokeswoman, at 322-6960 or Ke Anuenue AHEC at 935-8658.

(Story first posted July, 23, 2008.)