UH Med Now

Islands Hospice donates $50,000 in scholarships to MD students pursuing geriatric/palliative medicine

Date: May 21st, 2018 in Donors, External News, Geriatrics, Giving, Graduate Medical Education, JABSOM News    Print or PDF

Pictured: President Kevin Webb and Scott Nilsen of Islands Hospice present a $50,000 check to the MD 2019 scholarship recipients Kellie Kurasaki, Keolamau Yee and Laura Kurata. Deborah Manog Dimaya photo.

By Deborah Manog Dimaya, UH Med Now

Islands Hospice has created a new scholarship for fourth-year University of Hawaiʻi (UH) medical students who plan to pursue a fellowship program in geriatric or the care of terminally ill patients, called palliative medicine.

Islands Hospice President Kevin Webb presented a $50,000 check to Dr. Kamal Masaki, Chair of the Department of Geriatric Medicine at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) at a special luncheon held at the UH Kakaʻako campus on May 17th. Part of the funds will support three members of the JABSOM MD Class of 2019 who may choose to become geriatricians as they pursue the next stages of their medical training as MD graduates in MD Residency and Fellowship programs. Money left over will be distributed in the future to other aspiring geriatricians at JABSOM.

Dr. Masaki noted that the need for geriatricians — experts in caring for the elderly — is enormous in Hawaiʻi, where some islands have no full-time geriatricians at all (Kaua’i*) and others have very few. The shortage is alarming because the State of Hawaiʻi forecasts that by 2045, nearly one in every four Hawaiʻi residents will be 65 or older.

*The Hawai’i Health Workforce Report in 2017 showed only a part-time geriatrician (.09) for Kaua’i, two (2.45) on Hawai’i Island, one (1.8) on Maui, and 11 on O’ahu. (The instances showing a fraction represent geriatricians who are available on a part-time basis.)

“We definitely need more Geriatricians in Hawaiʻi caring for our kupuna and if we at Islands Hospice can encourage a few more students in their journey in this direction that is a great use of our resources.” said Webb.

The three scholarship recipients are fourth-year medical students Kellie Kurasaki, Laura Kurata and Keolamau Yee. They beamed with gratitude as they met with Webb and Scott Nilsen, Director of Community Relations at Island Hospice, and thanked them for the generous investment in their medical education.

In addition, JABSOM’s Dr. Jerris Hedges, Dean; Dr. Pat Blanchette, Associate Dean; and Dr. Kristen Teranishi, Assistant Director of Student Affairs, were also present to personally thank the donors.

About Islands Hospice

Islands Hospice is a local, non-profit hospice agency providing service to the islands of Oʻahu and Maui. They stand by their mission statement, “We will provide the highest quality, comprehensive hospice care focused on serving the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of terminally ill patients and their loved ones.”

To support a program or area at JABSOM of special interest to you, please contact Director of Development Elaine Evans at 808-692-0991 or elaine.evans@uhfoundation.org.

See all photos by Deborah Manog Dimaya:
Islands Hospice Scholarship Gift Celebration

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