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KS and KS-affiliated interns pose with ʻōiwi leaders from Hawaii Pacific Health after a “talk story” session about succeeding in the medical field

KS partners with Hawaii Pacific Health to boost ʻōiwi leadership in the medical field

July 25, 2022

Instead of hitting the beach and sleeping in, 11 Kamehameha Schools and KS-affiliated high school and college haumāna are spending their summer gaining real-world experience as paid interns at Hawaii Pacific Health facilities on Oʻahu and Kauaʻi. The interns were recently treated to breakfast and invaluable insight from ʻōiwi HPH leaders at a “talk story” event at the Pacific Club.

The haumāna listened intently to manaʻo from a three-person panel comprised of a doctor, a vice president and a clinical services manager. All three shared the need for more Native Hawaiian representation in the medical field. And they all stressed that there's no singular road to success. What's important is setting a goal and achieving it, even if there are starts, stops and speed bumps along the way.

HPH executive vice president Sunshine Topping served as moderator and offered a sober statistic about Native Hawaiians in the medical industry. At the University of Hawai‘i John A. Burns School of Medicine, Hawaiʻi’s premier doctor training facility, Topping noted that Native Hawaiians make up just six percent of the student body. That's a fraction of the 21 percent statewide Native Hawaiian population. Topping wondered aloud how different things might be if executive board rooms and other decision-making bodies had more ʻōiwi leaders in place.

The summer internship program is meant to help change this disparity. The 11 student interns are placed in various departments like imaging, health information services, administration, and even the hospital gift shop. The students shared that getting to experience different aspects of the medical field provided insight that they just canʻt get in a classroom.

Kamehameha Schools and Hawaii Pacific Health also collaborate on another mentoring program. The prestigious Summer Student Research Program is geared towards older college students looking to get into the crucial field of medical research. The SSRP is highly selective and Kennedy-Kainoa “Keni” Tamashiro KSM ʻ18 earned a spot as part of this year's cohort!

Hoʻomaikaʻi to Keni and i mua to all these KS haumāna who are looking to fill critical roles in the medical field.

Keni Tamashiro cleans kalo at Ka Papa Loʻi o Punaluʻu on ʻāina Pauahi. The activity was part of the prestigious KS/HPH Summer Student Research Program.

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