To help address the growing physician shortage in Hawaiʻi, Kaiser Permanente has become a full teaching partner with the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM).

Already a longtime supporter and partner of the medical school, Kaiser Permanente pledged $800,000 to create the Kaiser Permanente Hawaiʻi Medical Student Scholarships. This support will cover full-tuition scholarships for five incoming Hawaiʻi resident medical students who intend to practice medicine in Hawaiʻi’s rural and/or underserved communities and help address health disparities within our state.

In addition to supporting the students’ education, Kaiser Permanente will now provide pre-clinical and clinical training opportunities at Moanalua Medical Center and Kaiser Permanente facilities, making it a full teaching partner. Thanks to this private/public partnership, JABSOM will increase enrollment by five medical students for the 2019–23 cohort.

“Kaiser Permanente leadership’s vision and generosity is empowering JABSOM to compete with other medical schools for our state’s most promising medical student candidates. With this new award, we will be able to keep five more of Hawaiʻi’s best and brightest at home,” said JABSOM Dean Jerris Hedges. “To lose top student talent to mainland medical schools is especially disappointing because we know that if students attend medical school and do their residency training in Hawaiʻi, about 85 percent will stay here to practice. That’s the highest retention rate in the nation.”

Hedges added, “Scholarships help to reduce the impact of indebtedness on a student’s decision regarding which specialty to enter and where to practice. Patients in underserved areas benefit when JABSOM graduates are free to focus on their passions rather than their pocketbooks. Many future doctors give up their dreams of practicing in “—which is already short approximately 700 physicians—to set up practice on the mainland where the earning potential is higher and the cost of living lower. At the same time, the growing nationwide physician shortage has made it more difficult to recruit mainland physicians to the islands. More than ever, we need to grow our own.”

“We’re proud that more than 130 of our 665 physicians and providers are JABSOM graduates delivering high-quality care to our members and patients at Kaiser Permanente Hawaiʻi,” said Geoff Sewell, president and executive medical director for Hawaiʻi Permanente Medical Group. “Our goal with this partnership is to give more opportunities to talented doctors-to-be in Hawaiʻi, so they can stay in the islands to get an exceptional education and practice medicine after they graduate. We also find that JABSOM physicians are particularly dedicated to improving health equity and eliminating care disparities among our local communities, so we’re thrilled by the potential this partnership has for the health of the people of Hawaiʻi.”

Read the full news release on the JABSOM website.

—By Tina Shelton

check presentation with jerris hedges and students
Kaiser Permanente pledged $800,000 to cover 5 full-tuition scholarships.