December 1, 2019

Conference Report: The Pacific Region Indigenous Doctors Congress (PRIDoC) 2018

Dee-Ann Carpenter MD and Martina Kamaka MD

Hawai’i Journal of Health & Social Welfare

This was “The best PRIDoC ever,” exclaimed one of the attendees at the ninth biannual Pacific Region Indigenous Doctors Congress (PRIDoC) held in Hilo, Hawai‘i on July 12-17, 2018. PRIDoC is a biannual conference that brings together indigenous physicians and medical students from around the Pacific and from those lands and territories connected to the Pacific in some way. What made this PRIDoC so special? PRIDoC offers a culturally safe space where indigenous doctors and medical students can come together to build relationships and share resources and expertise. The week-long event included extraordinary cultural grounding on the island of Hawai‘i. Hawaiʻi island is the largest in the Hawaiian Island chain and is home to Kilauea, an active volcano that had erupted continuously since 1983 (flows stopped in the fall of 2019), and the home of Pele, Native Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes.

The PRIDoC medical conference strives to improve the health of indigenous populations while offering CME (continuing medical education) activities, but what truly sets it apart is its use of a cultural lens to focus providers on how to better their care for patients. Sharing stories, histories and struggles as well as achievements and best practices empowers participants to influence public policies for the health of our ecosystems, our lands and waters as well as the well-being of our communities. As indigenous physicians, we know that “the health of our lands” cannot be separated from the “health of our people.” PRIDoC creates a space to share research advances, issues, strategies, and best practices for health and well-being. In addition, mentorship of medical students, is emphasized as they are “our future.”

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