Boot camp for doctors; How medical training in Hawaii is changing

Sponsored by University Health Partners of Hawaii (UHP) & John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM)

News that Hawaii is facing a critical shortage of doctors is nothing new. University Health Partners of Hawaii (UHP) the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) are partnering in an effort to train good doctors in every field, and keep them in the islands, especially those of Native Hawaiian descent. The program called ʻImi Hoʻōla is basically a “boot camp” for doctors. HI Now host Kanoe Gibson sat down with the program’s director, Dr. Winona Lee, and Leimomi Kanagusuku, a student who graduated and is now in residency.

About about ʻImi Hoʻōla Post Baccalaureate Program
ʻImi Hoʻōla is one of the most forward-thinking programs ever initiated at the University of Hawaii. 45 years ago, the medical school and the community worked together to figure out a way to increase the number of well-trained physicians, especially among the indigenous people of Hawaiʻi and the Pacific, who were virtually unrepresented among doctors in the community.

The ʻImi Hoʻōla (“Those who seek to heal”) Post-Baccalaureate Program seeks out up to 12 promising college graduates from economic, social, and/or educational disadvantaged backgrounds each year to participate in a year-long, intensive program that ultimately equips the students with the tools they need for Medical School. Upon successful completion of the training, students earn a place in the next class of medical students.

Today there are 267 ʻImi Hoʻōla graduates who have successfully completed medical school. Native Hawaiians make up the largest part of the group, followed by Filipinos then Pacific Islanders coming from American Samoa, Guam, Palau and the Marshall Islands. Out of the entire group, 80 percent are currently practicing doctors providing primary care services.  We’re very proud of this success!

ʻImi Hoʻōla’s success is made possible through the ongoing support of community partners and contributors. The Queen’s Health System has directly contributed funding for student stipends, the Friends of ‘Imi Hoʻōla, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, and individual donors, through the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation all have also supported student and program activities throughout the year. Donations to the program are appreciated. Simply go online to to learn more.

For more information:, FB: @JABSOM, IG:, FB: @UHPHawaii IG: @UHPHawaii