UH Med Now

Immigrant health needs motivated winner of Hawaiʻi Health Workforce Summit research competition

Date: October 13th, 2017 in JABSOM News, Research, Student Life    Print or PDF

Malabed with his poster

Pictured: Malabed at the Hawai’i Health Workforce Summit poster competition in Waikīkī.

A junior studying Biology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa won first prize for the research poster he presented at the 2017 Hawaiʻi Health Workforce Summit.

Jhon Michael Malabed wanted to examine ways that Filipino patients with diabetes or heart disease could avoid ending up hospitalized. “My project highlighted some of the social determinants of health for the Filipino community who have these chronic conditions,” Malabed explained.

He said he was motivated in his research by the lack of large-scale initiatives to specifically address the health needs of immigrant populations.

“I participated in the Hawaiʻi Health Workforce Summit with the goal to share the challenges patients with diabetes or heart disease face outside healthcare facilities. The poster competition allowed me to discuss the issues and health needs of our community with health professionals about how can we address or intervene,” said Malabed.

He describes actually winning the competition as the “cherry on top” to “It was a humbling feeling that some of the health professionals and judges took notice of all the hard work that I put in my research project,” he said.

Shows Malabed holding two awards.


Malabed with his awards at the summit.

In addition to winning first-place in the Health Disparities Poster Competition, Malabed was recognized as the AHEC Hawai’i Pre-Health Career Corps “Corps Leader of the Year.” Malabed was also part of the 2017 Department of Native Hawaiian Summer Research Internship, where he says he got to work on his project.

He says his next goal is to publish his research project in a journal and complete another research project with the INBRE (Infrastructure Development Networks for Biomedical Research Excellence) program, based at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) and funded by the National Institutes of Health. INBRE is a research and education partnership that allows college students statewide an opportunity to become involved in biomedical research, while being mentored by accomplished scientists and faculty members.

Malabed’s reseach advisor was Dr. Deb Taira of the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy, University of Hawai’i at Hilo, with additional assistance from Dr. Tetine Sentell (Public Health Studies, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa.

The Hawai’i Health Workforce Summit, annually organized by the JABSOM Hawai’i Area Health Education Center, brings physicians and other health care professionals together to collaborate on ways to ease the shortage of people in key professions, like medicine, in Hawai’i. The summit also provides workshops to help medical providers thrive in their practices and updates them on the latest health care regulations. The 2017 summit attracted 475 participants.

Share this: