Testimonials from participants

Comments from former participants, who are now JABSOM students

“I had the privilege to be a part of the first ‘Medical Problem Solving’ course at JABSOM, and the experience was absolutely invaluable to me. I had been thinking about medical school somewhere down the road, but I wasn’t quite convinced that it would be the right career for me. The course solidified it for me. I had never before experienced such an undeniable sense of belonging (as far as career goals or study programs go), as I did when I was at JABSOM, and now as a current JABSOM medical student, I can say without hesitation that the course was an extremely accurate sampling of life as a first year medical student. I recommend the course to anyone and EVERYONE with even the slightest interest in Medicine and/or Healthcare and/or Hawaiʻi and/or fun and learning in general!!!”

–Meghann Lau, JABSOM First Year Medical Student 2012


“I am so thankful that I had the opportunity during high school to experience what it would be like to be a medical student at JABSOM because it planted the seed for my interest in becoming a physician. The teachers at JABSOM helped me to integrate all the things I had learned in my high school science classes and showed me how that applied to diseases, the impact of those diseases on real people, and how as a compassionate physician I could support patients through the worst and best times of their lives. It was like a light bulb turning on, because I had discovered what I wanted to do. When I became a medical student at JABSOM it felt like my journey had come full circle and I never forgot my humble beginnings as a curious high school student in JABSOM’s Summer Program.”

–Marissa Isaki, JABSOM First Year Medical Student 2011

Comments from participating high school teachers

“The first thought that comes to mind when I think of our summer Medical Problem Solving course is, ‘I wish it was offered when I was in High School!'”. For three weeks, students are immersed in the life of a first year medical student. They get the full taste of everything, from learning and teaching through problem based tutorials, to examining a cadaver in the human anatomy lab and also acting as the physician in their patient encounter. This course puts students in a physician’s shoes and forces them to step out of their comfort zone, stretching their abilities and growing in ways they did not anticipate. Community service is also a major emphasis and students are exposed to various ways that physicians serve beyond in their own medical practice. My students remark that this course has changed their lives. For some, it reaffirms their desire to become a medical professional and to continue their journey towards this goal. For others, it opens their eyes to the realities of a physician’s life and to other aspects of the profession that they had not considered. In all cases they reflect fondly on their experience, having bonded with their teachers, participating physicians and peers. Medical Problem Solving truly offers unique and valuable experiences. I am proud to be a part of this program and grateful that my students are offered the opportunity to participate every year.

–Dena Ono, ʻIolani School

“Children born into in an environment that places them at a social and economic disadvantage hinders their academic potential and damages how they value and perceive themselves. When asked, my students will tell you, in hollow voice that echoes uncertainty, how they plan to attend college and enter a profession. The hollowness in their voice is born from life experiences that push these goals away from them making their dreams seem distant and beyond reach. In my view, these self perceptions are the reason my students do not pursue academics with vigor. The lack of academic motivation is an innate learning behavior carried by the perception that their goals and dreams are simply unattainable. My students do not have many opportunities to interact with successful professionals that have navigated through a career pathway. Without a role model or pathway to follow, how can my students navigate their own success?

Exposing students that are serious about overcoming their situation to a program such as the Medical Diagnostic and Clinical Skills program offered at JABSOM cleared the beginning of their career pathway for them. The JABSOM instructors and staff maintained a nurturing professional environment that enabled my students to visualize themselves as caring professionals in the health care field. This new view of self was a dramatic transformation for them. At the beginning of the course my students felt inadequate socially and academically. These perceived inadequacies caused them to be timid in their new surroundings, afraid to speak out, interact with their peers, or assume a leadership role. Their mentality was, ‘I will be okay if I sit in the back of the class or stand at the end of the line so no one will notices me'”. They withdrew from class discussions sitting outside of discussion groups not saying a word or when asked agreeing with the point of view of others but never offering a view of their own. As they became acclimatized to their new environment they began to interact socially and becoming more confident as they proudly wore their new stethoscopes around their neck, began asking questions, contributing to group discussions, some even taking on a leadership role. All of this came about because the JABSOM staff and instructors gave quiet praise nudging them out of their comfort zone and allowing them to be themselves, and helping them see that they are successful people. Discovering, and now knowing, that they are okay just as they are and as important as any of the other students, I am sure will have a lasting impression on them. As a result of this program, my student’s view of self has changed. The change was spurred by the path created for them by the instructors and staff at JABSOM. They now know a group of professionals that care about them and have walked down the same career path they are pursuing. This knowledge has transformed their life goals from dreams to something tangible. I am certain that when now asked about their future plans the hollowness in my students voice has faded away replaced with echoes of confidence.”

–Eric Whiteman Nanakuli High School