Dean’s Focus Areas (IGC)


Dean’s 2016 Focus Area

Rural and Neighbor Island Training for Students

If you are one of the approximately 953,000 who call Honolulu home, access to health care and doctors is widely available. Most times, you have a choice of who you see for healthcare. But imagine living in a community where there is only one doctor, specialists who fly in only once a month, and having to travel — sometimes by plane — for specialized testing.


In 2006, Dr. Jon V. Martell and his wife, Jamie McCormick, established the R.A.C.E (Rural Ambulatory Care Education) Fund to provide opportunities for JABSOM students to experience what medical practice in a rural setting is like. Their hope was that medical students who train in a rural or neighbor island setting will embrace the benefits of practice in smaller communities and eventually come back.

As a result of JABSOM’s efforts to make rural and neighbor island training part of the JABSOM experience, some students are given the opportunity to spend up to six-months on a neighbor island for a clinical rotation.

Nash Witten, who completed a 6L clerkship in North Hawai‘i last year, explains why the rural clinical experience would not be possible without the tremendous support of community physicians, community donors, and logistical
support from the Office of Medical Education.

  • “For one, we need a car to get to clinics, which is why JABSOM pays to ship our cars over.
  • Second, we need a place for a rental in the community. This wouldn’t be possible without support from local donors who help to offset these costs, and for this we are all tremendously thankful.
  • Third, and most importantly, we need physicians in all of the required fields who are willing to have us work with them for the five months. Signing up to take medical students is much more than just having another warm body in clinic, it requires numerous forms, slowing down the pace of the clinic, tons of questions, and the constant supervision of our novice clinical skills. This means a lot of extra work for already overworked physicians who willingly and enthusiastically volunteer to take us!”

By giving JABSOM students the opportunity to experience the challenges and rewards of practicing in a rural area, your gift to the R.A.C.E. Fund can help.

Dean’s 2016 Focus Area


What if WE could lessen the financial stress of going to medical school? What if WE could help train more doctors in Hawai‘i? What if WE could help students fulfill their dreams of becoming doctors? Through our Internal Giving Campaign, WE CAN help our students ease the financial burden of attending medical school.

Every year JABSOM through the UH Foundation, gives out more than $710,000 in scholarships and awards to approximately 30% of JABSOM students. And while scholarships certainly help attract and retain the best and brightest, our graduates are still leaving JABSOM with an average debt of
approximately $120,000.

Last year, the 50th Anniversary Gala raised a record $941,000 in scholarships for JABSOM students, but there is still more we can do. Our students are immensely grateful for the support they receive. We asked a few 50th Anniversary scholarship recipients what the scholarship meant to them.

JABSOM Scholarship Med Students

Laura Kagami, JABSOM class of 2020, responded; “I was born and raised in Honolulu and owe everything I have learned and accomplished to the community that raised me. This scholarship is an amazing reminder of the never ending support from the community that enables students like myself to pursue our dreams and aspirations.”

Another recipient, Christa Brown, JABSOM class of 2020 responded; “The JABSOM 50th anniversary scholarship is meaningful to me in two ways:

  1. It helps provide financial freedom to pursue the aspects of medicine that would best utilize my talents, fit my passions, and allow me to serve my patients well—and worry less about making enough money to live AND pay off a massive debt.
  2. It encourages me to pursue academic and personal excellence, knowing that others have invested their resources in me — I hope to pay them back through excellence, perhaps even with interest!

Please consider directing a portion of your 2016 Internal Giving Campaign contribution towards the Medical School Scholarship Fund. Your gift will have a direct impact on the lives and careers of our students. You will be investing in Hawai‘i’s health care future — one student at a time.