In an effort to tackle the doctor shortage in Hawaiʻi, philanthropists Barry and Virginia Weinman, Hawaiʻi Pacific Health and The Queen’s Health Systems are donating $3.66 million to fund full-tuition, 4-year scholarships for 23 incoming students at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM). The 23 scholarship recipients are Hawaiʻi residents and make up about a third of the incoming Class of 2022.
“These 23 future doctors will be free from worry over the expense of a medical education while they study. They will be able to graduate nearly debt free and then choose their medical specialties based on their passion to serve, not financial constraints,” said JABSOM Dean Jerris Hedges. “We are tremendously grateful to Barry and Virginia Weinman, and our partners at Hawaiʻi Pacific Health and The Queen’s Health Systems for their multifaceted partnership over the years, and their investments in our collective future.”
The average medical school educational debt of a JABSOM student upon graduation is $169,000, and some owe much more from financing their undergraduate education.
“With so many of Hawaiʻi’s doctors retiring in the next five years, and the cost of a medical education rising annually, Hawaiʻi’s well-being will remain precarious unless more doctors can afford to be educated and then practice here,” read a statement by Barry and Virginia Weinman. “Hopefully, these scholarships will impact Hawaiʻi’s well-being.”
Scholarship recipient Kara Termulo of Maui says she plans to practice medicine at her father’s family practice clinic in Wailuku after she earns her degree and completes her residency.
“I am so happy to be at JABSOM,” said Termulo. “Happy to have a scholarship and happy to have the support of the donors and have someone believe in my goal.”
A fellow scholarship recipient, Ted Jacoby of Hawaiʻi Island, says he was overwhelmed by the donation.
“We want them to feel appreciated for what they have done,” said Jacoby. “I definitely want to practice in Hawaiʻi. JABSOM was by far my first choice. I am very committed to this school and I am very committed to my community.”
Hawaiʻi Pacific Health President and CEO Ray Vara committed to five full-tuition, 4-year scholarships for incoming, Hawaiʻi resident, JABSOM medical students. Barry and Virginia Weinman agreed to match this HPH commitment and encouraged similar community commitments.
“Our mission is to create a healthier Hawaiʻi,” said Vara. “That commitment includes not only providing high-quality healthcare, but also forming strong community partnerships that invest in the future of our industry to help accomplish our mission.”
The Queen’s Health Systems, building on its consistent and generous partnership with JABSOM, decided to fund $1 million to enable 6.75 full-tuition, 4-year medical student scholarships which was also matched by the Weinmans.
“In order to provide the best kind of care for the people of Hawaiʻi, we must be proactive in giving young talent in the medical field the opportunity to succeed and thrive, right here at home,” said Arthur Ushijima, president and CEO of The Queen’s Health Systems. “We are grateful for the leadership shown by the Weinmans in their desire to address this ongoing issue for Hawaiʻi’s medical students and the landscape of healthcare in our community.”