November 1, 2011

Imi Ho‘ola Program: Producing Primary Care Physicians for Hawai’i and the Pacific

Chessa C. DeCambra, Winona K. Lee

Hawai’i Medical Journal

The impact on health care delivery due to the impending shortage of primary care physicians is of national concern. To meet the growing health care needs of Hawai‘i and the Pacific, the Imi Ho‘ala Post-Baccalaureate Program (IHP) provides educational opportunities for students from disadvantaged backgrounds to pursue careers in medicine. Students selected to participate in the IHP have demonstrated a commitment to serve in areas of need of Hawai‘i and the Pacific. IHP alumni enter the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) as first year medical students. Following graduation, these students enter a variety of residency training programs. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine whether IHP alumni who successfully graduate from JABSOM choose primary care as their specialty of choice. Methods: A retrospective review of IHP alumni from 1973–2010 was conducted. All IHP alumni who graduated from JABSOM and are currently in practice were included in the study. Results: Of the 213 IHP graduates, 71.6% (n=152) are primary care physicians currently in practice. Conclusions: The majority of IHP alumni are currently serving as primary care physicians. Selection criteria, educational curriculum, and experiential nature of the program may contribute to Imi Ho‘ala’s success in producing primary care physicians.

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