UH Med Now

HOME Project’s Dr. Jill Omori presented with Hawaiʻi Women Lawyers’ Distinguished Service Award

Date: May 23rd, 2016 in Alumni News, Faculty, JABSOM News    Print or PDF

Pictured above: Dr. Jill Omori surrounded by members of the MD Class of 2016 before their Convocation Ceremony. (Amanda Shell Photo)

Reported by Janelle Guerrero-Miguel, UH Med Now Student Journalist
University of Hawai’i Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health Jill Omori, MD, is this year’s recipient of the Hawai’i Women Lawyers’ Distinguished Service Award for her work with the Homeless Outreach and Medical Education (H.O.M.E.) Project, based at the John A. Burns School of Medicine.

“I am truly humbled and honored to receive this award. To be recognized for doing something I love is very special,” said Dr. Omori, who serves on the faculty of the John A. Burns School of Medicine.

“I definitely share the honor with all the students, volunteers, physicians, and community supporters that help to make HOME Project possible,” Omori said.

Dr. Omori earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology, going on to earn her MD degree at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) in 1995. She completed her residency training in Family Medicine and Community Health in Hawai’i.

Dr. Jill Omori, left, with an MD student and patient inside the H.O.M.E. clinic van.


Dr. Jill Omori, left, with an MD student and patient inside the HOME clinic van.

Dr. Omori was interested in science but says she initially thought of going into engineering. She quickly learned that engineering was not for her because she sought a more people-oriented profession. She enjoys the combination of science, healing, and compassion– the fundamental elements of practicing medicine.

“I was also very sickly as a child and spent a lot of time at the doctor. I really loved my pediatrician and I think he also inspired me to want to become a doctor,” she said.

Dr. Omori remembers that during her days as a medical student, she wanted to be more exposed to the care of under-privileged patients. When she joined the JABSOM faculty, she felt students were not getting enough training in caring for homeless individuals. At that time, Hawai’i’s homeless population was growing rapidly, including in areas very near to JABSOM’s Kakaʻako Campus.

“It was a dream that I had to start student-run homeless clinics for our medical school and to create a curriculum in underserved care for JABSOM. I was fortunate enough to receive a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant to help fund my time to develop the curriculum and the H.O.M.E. Project was born out of that endeavor,” she says.

Dr. Omori considers The HOME Project her proudest career accomplishment. What started off as a simple dream ended up making an impact within the community, especially to the homeless.

In 2014, Walmart donated a clinic/van to the HOME Project. (L to R) Dr. Jill Omori, JABSOM students Lauryn Ando and Ellyse Tom with Ray Griego, store manager for the downtown Honolulu Walmart.


In 2014, Walmart donated a clinic/van to the HOME Project. (L to R) Dr. Jill Omori, JABSOM students (now MDs) Lauryn Ando and Ellyse Tom with Ray Griego, store manager for the downtown Honolulu Walmart.

The project began with a single clinic, once a week. But with the help and the support of the entire JABSOM community, H.O.M.E. expanded to six different sites with four clinics per week. Dr. Omori enjoys seeing former students who volunteered with the project return as community physicians. And she is gratified when she sees patients transition into healthier lives.

During her free time, Dr. Omori enjoys baking and making crafts. Each Christmas, she directs a “Home for the Holidays” craft fair at JABSOM which benefits the H.O.M.E. Project, as well as countless bake sales. She says her fondest wish is for local government to develop housing policies that will reduce the homeless crisis in Hawai’i. But her greatest hope is that one day, there will be no need for the H.O.M.E. Project’s clinics at all.

Dr. Omori also has continued high hopes about the future of her alma mater, the John A. Burns School of Medicine.

“I suppose my vision for JABSOM is to be a world-renowned medical school that emphasizes not only excellence in medical knowledge, clinical skills, and research, but also that highly values equality, compassionate care, community building, and social responsibility,” she said.

Dr. Omori surrounded by some of the many medical student volunteers who have helped her serve the community through the H.O.M.E. Project.


Dr. Omori surrounded by some of the many medical student volunteers who have helped her serve the community through the H.O.M.E. Project.

Related Stories:

Walmart funds new H.O.M.E. clinic van

Sunset Rotarians give to support H.O.M.E. Project

Video: Homeless patient grateful for H.O.M.E. clinic

Video: Homeless outreach in its eighth year at JABSOM (2014)

Note:
The John A. Burns School of Medicine supports preservation of the Native Hawaiian Language. We respectfully use proper Hawaiian diacritical marks where we can. On-line, we may neglect them in some instances to increase search ability on the internet. Where possible we also will include versions of the word (perhaps in parentheses) with its proper markings.

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