University Health Partners of Hawaii (UHP) & John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM)
Ever wonder what an internal medicine doctor does? Basically, it’s a physician for adults. Dr. Elizabeth Tam, chair of medicine at the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM), joined host Kanoe Gibson on set to talk about the broad range of primary care services this type of physician provides.
Internal Medicine physicians specialize in prevention, diagnosis, and treatments specific to persons 18 years of age and older. Many patients have at least one chronic disease, such as high blood pressure and heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, stroke, or cancer. JABSOM primary care and specialist faculty diagnose and help patients understand and manage their conditions. But their primary goal is to help people stay healthy.
In fact, the University Health Partner Internal Medicine practice is a Comprehensive Primary Care Plus site which focuses on prevention. It has a team dedicated to helping patients, including a care coordinator, a diabetes educator, a behavioral health specialist, and pharmacy faculty and students. Even if a person doesn’t have symptoms, experts say it’s a good idea to establish care with a primary care provider to start a program of regular screening and health maintenance.
The UH Department of Medicine oversees the largest residency program in Hawaii. Each year 19 Internal Medicine residents and 6 preliminary or one year residents are selected from more than 2000 applicants. Internal Medicine residency requires at least 3 years of training, so at the moment, the facility is teaching more than 60 residents. Graduates can practice general internal medicine in hospitals or offices, or proceed to further training in medical specialties such as cardiology, pulmonary and critical care medicine, or endocrinology, among others. With the shortage of primary care physicians in Hawaii continuing, this program will hopefully attract physicians committed to primary care, and will provide them the support and skills for successful practice after residency.