February 1, 2014

Medical School Hotline – Celebrating 40 years of ‘Imi Ho‘ōla

Winona K. Lee MD; Malia-Susanne Lee MD; and Dee-Ann Carpenter MD

Hawai’i Journal of Medicine & Public Health

JABSOM’s Commitment to Student Diversity
– The John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) was established in 1967 as a 2-year pre-clinical program, requiring students to complete their last two clinical years of medical education on the continental United States. Six years later, JABSOM became a 4-year medical degree granting institution and established itself as the first and only US accredited medical school in the Pacific basin. JABSOM’s longstanding commitment to student diversity, particularly Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander representation in medicine, began with its first Dean, Dr. Windsor Cutting. Dr. Cutting’s vision produced the Dean’s Guest program which later became Kulia (Hawaiian meaning for “to strive”).1 The Dean’s Guest and Kulia programs offered faculty tutoring to disadvantaged students primarily from the Pacific and an additional year to complete the 2-year preclinical medical program. Students who excelled in the Dean’s guest program were presented to the executive committee with recommendations to advance as a full time medical student. Historically, these programs set the foundation necessary to garner support to create the highly successful educational model now known as the ‘Imi Hoʻōla Post-Baccalaureate Program. The ʻImi Hoʻōla program is institutionalized within JABSOM and is part of the Department of Native Hawaiian Health.2 This article describes the evolution of ‘Imi Hoʻōla, its current educational curriculum, community partnerships and supporters, the program’s 40th anniversary celebration, and alumni outcomes.

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