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JABSOM expands residency program to increase physicians in underserved areas

Scott Dahlem
Wikimedia Commons

The University of Hawaiʻi’s medical school will expand its residency program with two new bills signed by Gov. David Ige.

The purpose of the bills is to train more local physicians by placing them in Hawaiʻi hospitals for their postgraduate programs at the John A. Burns School of Medicine.

The new bills will expand JABSOM’s enrollment numbers and rotate students to the neighbor islands. Maui and Hawaiʻi County are experiencing the biggest physician shortage at 40%.

More than 80% of physicians who graduate from both JABSOM and its residency programs tend to stay in Hawaiʻi to practice, and 70% stay at the site where they performed their residency.

There will also be a new loan repayment program for students committed to serving rural areas and neighbor islands.

Erika Noel is a recent graduate from JABSOM, and will be working in pediatric care at Wilcox Medical Center on Kauaʻi.

Noel spoke at the bill signing ceremony, stating, "They asked why I chose to practice on the island of Kauaʻi and I respond that it has become my home throughout my medical training in both my undergraduate medical training here while here at JABSOM, and also through my residency program."

The UH system will also receive nearly $2 million to expand nursing programs to all of its campuses.

Zoe Dym is a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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