JABSOM medical students signed up for longitudinal training.

A record number of students from the University of Hawaiʻi John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) have signed up to spend a five-month stretch in a single place, learning from six faculty physicians called “preceptors.” The 39 students will work with their with preceptors at medical offices, clinics or hospitals on Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi Island, Maui and Kauaʻi.

The course is the longitudinal clerkship program, an alternative track for third-year medical students at JABSOM.

Twenty-four of the 39 students are stationed on Oʻahu this year in communities including Waimānalo, Kailua, ʻAiea, Mililani, Waipio, Wahiawā, Haleʻiwa, Kalihi and downtown Honolulu. Fifteen students are residing and training on the neighbor islands during their five-month assignments.

“The longer-term training in those communities allows the medical students to get intensive one-on-one mentoring from the physician they are paired with,” said Jill Omori, JABSOM’s director of medical education. “The students also get to witness the continuity of care (the care of a patient over a period of time, often including ongoing health management), which is an important concept in health care today.”

Nash Witten, a JABSOM ’17 graduate, enjoyed his longitudinal training so much that he wrote about it during his stint on Hawaiʻi Island. “This rural clinical experience would not be possible without the tremendous support of community physicians, community donors and logistical support from the JABSOM Office of Medical Education,” Witten wrote. “We need a car to get to clinics, so JABSOM ships our cars over. We need a place to stay, and neither would be possible without support from local donors who help to offset these costs.”

Most importantly, the future doctors need physicians in all of the required fields to spend endless hours with the learners over those five months. Medical student learning in Hawaiʻi also isn’t possible without the hundreds of patients each year who agree to let a medical student observe their care.

Clinical training for all JABSOM medical students is a partnership with the community. While many medical schools have university hospitals, JABSOM faculty are based (and provide physician services) at a variety of community healthcare facilities.

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