group of students
The scholarships recipients (L to R): Katelyn Shirai, Eduardo Biala, Jr., Benjamin Lee, Vanessa Freitas and Tiffany Kurozawa.

Recognizing the growing need to support students with a dream of enrolling in the University of Hawaiʻi’s at Mānoa John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM), The Queen’s Health Systems has pledged to provide full four-year scholarships for five incoming full-time medical students who have successfully completed the ʻImi Hoʻōla Post-Baccalaureate program. The scholarship recipients are Katelyn Shirai, Eduardo Biala, Jr., Benjamin Lee, Vanessa Freitas and Tiffany Kurozawa.

These scholarships signify Queen’s expanded support of the program, increasing the number of scholarships available from three last year to five this year. In addition, for the last 10 years, Queen’s has supported students who are enrolled in the ʻImi Hoʻōla program by providing them with monthly stipends, allowing them to commit their full attention to their studies. As part of the criteria for accepting a scholarship, students must sign an agreement with JABSOM to commit to practicing medicine in Hawaiʻi.

ʻImi Hoʻōla (“those who seek to heal”), a 12-month program in JABSOM’s Department of Native Hawaiian Health, provides opportunities to attend medical school. The program prepares students with an emphasis on the integration of concepts and principles in the areas of science and humanities. Upon completion of the program, students are enrolled in medical school.

“Too often we see physicians leaving the state due to the high cost of living and practicing medicine, which is reflected by the severe physician shortage, the worst shortage being on my home island of Hawaiʻi Island,” said Kurozawa, a graduate of Kealakehe High School and incoming first year medical student. “With utmost appreciation to Queen’s, this scholarship eases the burden of paying off loans and nurtures my ability to provide focused medical care when I return to Kailua-Kona.”

“We are grateful to The Queen’s Health Systems for their longstanding support of the ʻImi Hoʻōla Post-Baccalaureate Program. The Queen’s Health Systems has provided essential financial support to deserving students in the program for more than 15 years,” said Winona Lee, director of the ʻImi Hoʻōla Post-Baccalaureate program. “These scholarships will allow ʻImi Hoʻōla students to achieve their dreams of becoming physicians and undoubtedly alleviate the financial strain and burden placed on themselves and their families.”

“We recognize the financial burden students and their families face when it comes to paying for medical school,” said Jill Hoggard Green, president and chief executive officer of The Queen’s Health Systems. “The ʻImi Hoʻōla program and the Department of Native Hawaiian Health are extremely important to us because they provide opportunities for students to realize their dreams no matter what their background is. It is critical that we support the work of these students who may eventually be physicians caring for our community. We are proud to support their endeavors.”

Read more on the JABSOM website.

This effort is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of Enhancing Student Success (PDF), one of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.