The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) welcomed its newest class of 77 aspiring physicians on July 22. The JABSOM Class of 2026 celebrated its White Coat Ceremony at Kaimukī High School—the first full in-person White Coat Ceremony for new students since 2019.
The ceremony marks the beginning of a medical student’s journey to becoming a physician. With the assistance of a physician mentor or a physician from their families, the Class of 2026 donned brand new white coats, which symbolizes the students’ commitment to medicine.
Two Hawaiʻi-bred students from the new class, Jasmine Padamada and Jonathan Carino, are eager for the journey ahead of them.
Padamada, who hails from Hawaiʻi Island, looks forward to applying the basic foundations of science that she learned from her undergraduate years at UH Manoā as well as the JABSOM ʻImi Hoʻōla Post-Baccalaureate Program, which is a rigorous year-long curriculum for students from underserved communities.
“I feel like it’s a big honor,” said Padamada, who plans to give back to her community in Keaʻau upon completion of medical school. “I think I’m privileged thinking of where I come from. I’m really honored and really excited. Here in the state, there is a physician shortage, especially on the other islands, the more rural areas…so just growing up and then being able to experience that, it really inspired me to come back. Being able to be here right now, to be able to have the opportunity to give back, give these rural areas more resources, be a resource for them. I think that’s a dream come true.”
Carino, a Pearl City native, was inspired by the doctor who took care of his father, who survived a heart attack. The care that his father received inspired him to take a leap into medicine and to give back to his community as well.
“It’s a crazy feeling,” Carino said. “[The white coat] is a symbol of the long path, the long journey and to be able to practice and become a doctor in my home state and take care of my community that helped raise me. It’s a privilege and I love it.”
The newest MD class consists of 85% of students from Hawaiʻi. Students outside of Hawaiʻi include those from Guam, Korea and the U.S. mainland (California, Maine, Colorado and Maryland). In addition, five graduates of the first all-female cohort of ʻImi Hoʻōla matriculated into JABSOM, which reflects the majority of women in their current class.