From our educationblog:

Name a demographic that’s underrepresented in Hawaii’s cohort of doctors. Here’s a hint: it’s not surprising.

According to a press release sent out by the University of Hawaii’s John A. Burns School of Medicine, only 4 percent of the state’s licensed physicians are of Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander decent. That’s a small fraction considering the group makes up roughly 25 percent of Hawaii’s population, the press release says.

Hawaii doctors and medical students plan to testify at the Capitol today in favor of a bill that would fund efforts to enhance Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander representation in the state’s medical workforce. 

One initiative that would receive the funding is the medical school’s Imi Hoola program.

The program gives students from disadvantaged backgrounds a one-year, post-baccalaureate boot camp in medicine. If they finish the program they automatically earn a place in the school’s MD program as first-year medical students.

From the press release:

Native Hawaiians continue to suffer high rates of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and obesity while remaining severely under-represented in all health professions … Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander health care providers are more likely than others to return to serve their home communities and provide services to those populations most in need.  

The Senate Health committee was scheduled to hear the bill today at 1:15 in conference room 229. 

— Alia Wong


Courtesy of