In the News
New Funds Established To Nurture And Grow Physicians For Hawaiʻi
Hawaiʻi Island resident and co-founder of Medtronic Inc. Dr. Earl Bakken has created the Lau Hawaiʻi Fund at the University of Hawai‘i John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) in the Department of Native Hawaiian Health (DNHH). Dr. Bakken’s goal is to nurture a robust primary care physician workforce on Hawaiʻi Island by enhancing initiatives that work to increase the number of physicians from rural, underserved and/or Native Hawaiian communities.
“We are extraordinarily grateful to Dr. Bakken for his very generous support of JABSOM initiatives to reduce the physician shortage on Hawaiʻi Island and encourage students of Native Hawaiian ancestry to pursue careers in medicine,” said DNHH chairman Keawe Kaholokula.
The Lau Hawaiʻi Fund will help fund the following medical education training opportunities:
1) Select ʻImi Hoʻōla Post-Baccalaureate students will have the opportunity to complete a rural rotation on Hawaiʻi Island during the final phase of the ʻImi Hoʻōla program. (`Imi Ho‘ōla means “Those who seek to heal.” Lau can mean “many”, or signify “growth” as in seedlings, etc.)
2) First and second year medical students will serve as peer mentors to middle and high school students and UH Hilo undergraduates as part the Native Hawaiian Center of Excellence workforce development initiative on Hawaiʻi Island. The goal of this activity will be to expose students to the health professions and to provide them with guidance and mentoring toward becoming a health professional with an emphasis on serving Hawai‘i Island.
3) Select third year medical students will have the opportunity to complete a six-month longitudinal rotation on Hawai‘i Island. The goal of this rotation is to introduce medical students to clinical practice on Hawai‘i Island with the hopes they will choose to return to practice on Hawai‘i Island after completing residency.
Wo JABSOM Achievement and Opportunity Scholarships
The Benedict and Miriam Wo Foundation has established two scholarships at JABSOM:
Wo JABSOM Opportunity Scholarship Fund
This fund will provide four need-based scholarships. One first-year medical student will be selected each year in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 and awarded $5,000 per year for up to four consecutive years (total scholarship aid $20,000 per recipient) so long as they remain eligible. (Note: Hawai`i’s medical students come from families of reasonably humble means. So it is not surprising that 86% of our MD students must rely on financial aid to pay their tuition.
Wo JABSOM Achievement Scholarship Fund
This fund will provide eight merit-based scholarships. Two first-year medical students will be selected each year in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 and awarded $2,500 each per year for up to four consecutive years (total scholarship aid $10,000 per recipient) so long as they remain eligible.
The Wo family is proud to have five generations of descendants residing in Hawai‘i. In 1909 the family started a small general merchandise store in downtown Honolulu which has grown into C. S. Wo & Sons, Ltd., the largest furniture retailer in the State of Hawai‘i.
The Wo family has given generously to the University of Hawai‘i over the years and these scholarships build on their impressive legacy of supporting our community. Miriam Wo Lau, 1919-2011, is a third generation Wo.
Pictured (At Top): Dr. Earl Bakken; Dr. Sasha Fernandes, JABSOM Department of Native Hawaiian Health; Keawe Kaholokula, Chairman, JABSOM Department of Native Hawaiian Health.
Pictured L-R (Inset): Iris Takushi, JABSOM Scholarship Director; Ric Wo, Benedict and Miriam Wo Foundation Trustee; JABSOM Dean Jerris Hedges.
Mahalo to Elaine Evans, UH Foundation-JABSOM, for this story.