Nine University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa students in the Imi Hoʻola (“Those Who Seek to Heal”) Post-Baccalaureate Program completed their year-long intensive study at the John A. Burns School of Medicine. Sometimes described as a “boot camp for medical school,” those who successfully finish the program gain automatic admission into the newest class at JABSOM.

Brian Imada of Honokaʻa, Jessica Yuen of Kapolei, Karra Imoto of Hilo, Jolana Gollero of Waipahu, Paul Muna Aguon of Guam, Andrea Bucci of Honolulu, January Andaya of Honolulu, Crystal Lam of ʻAiea and Janelle Otsuji of ʻEwa Beach celebrated at the program’s completion ceremony held on Wednesday, June 13. In August, they will participate in the “White Coat Ceremony” celebrating the entry of the entire MD Class of 2016.

Winona Lee, director of the program and the Native Hawaiian Center of Excellence said the ceremony marked “an important milestone in the students’ careers, recognizing their academic accomplishments, professional development and individual perseverance.””

For more than three decades, Imi Hoʻola has recruited promising students from historically under-represented and/or disadvantaged communities, helping them to successfully enroll in medical school and become physicians. More than 225 physicians—40 percent of them Native Hawaiians—have graduated from JABSOM through the Imi Hoʻola program. Nearly all of them have returned to their under-served communities to provide needed medical care.

Adapted from a John A. Burns School of Medicine news release

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