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Kareem Khozaim

As “ground zero” in the state’s worsening physician shortage, there is a critical need for primary care physicians on the rural Big Island. The most recent Hawaiʻi Physician Workforce Assessment calculated that Hawaiʻi Island has 20 percent fewer doctors than it needs to serve its current population.

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s John A. Burns School of Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology (OB-GYN) and Women’s Health has deployed a new faculty physician to serve patients in Hilo. Kareem Khozaim becomes the first OB-GYN doctor in Hilo employed by University Health Partners (UHP), the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) faculty practice plan. Khozaim is an assistant clinical professor, who will help to train other physicians beginning next year.

Hilo Bay Clinic services underserved communities

The JABSOM OB-GYN residency program will begin regular clinical rotations on Hawaiʻi Island. In collaboration with the Hilo Bay Clinic and Hilo Medical Center, future doctors will have the opportunity to see what rural medicine can be like as they actually care for patients, under faculty supervision, in an underserved community. Khozaim hopes to inspire newly-trained physicians to provide services on Hilo or in other areas in need of medical services.

“A UH presence in the Big Island seems long overdue and I think everyone is optimistic about the positive impact UH can have on Hilo, and the Big Island in general,” he said. “This community definitely deserves our attention.”

“To people from outside of Hawaiʻi Island, I can never express what this means to us,” said Hawaiʻi County Mayor Harry Kim. “This is almost like a culmination of years and years of trying to get more medical resources here. And I can’t say enough how much of a breakthrough this is.”

Contact information: Bay Clinic’s Hilo Women’s Health Center located at 73 Puʻuhonu Place, Suite 204. (808) 333-3500

For more information on the clinic and Khozaim, read the full story on the John A. Burns School of Medicine website.

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