Rural Health Day Special: Neighbor Island Students Get Hands-On Look at Medical School

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After the deaths of Dr. Noa Emmett Aluli and Dr. William Thomas, two of the most prominent physicians on Molokaʻi, the 7400 residents of the Friendly Isle are in crucial need of primary care physicians.

"I hear my mom talk a lot about how much we need physicians, especially after the losses of Dr. Aluli and Dr. Thomas. It's a big need," said Logan Oshiro, a student at Molokaʻi High School. 

"People need help, and there's not enough people helping."

Oshiro wants to help. Her father is a firefighter, and her mother works in a clinic, so she is used to seeing them help others and wants to follow in their footsteps.

"I spend a lot of my time at my mom's clinic. Many physicians and travel nurses visit here and there, so I get to talk with them," Oshiro said. "Being surrounded by people in the medical field inspired me, so I was pretty young when I knew I wanted to enter that field, too."

Oshiro and dozens of other high school students from Molokaʻi, Lānai, and Maui visited the John A. Burns School of Medicine to get a first-hand, day-long look at what being a medical student entails.

The students got to try reviving a SimTiki "patient," practice their suturing skills, and learn how to take and read vital signs. Exiting the SimTiki lab, Oshiro left inspired.

"We took their vitals and stuff. That was super cool. It makes me super excited and makes me want to jump out to my goals."

logan oshiro works with a Sim Tiki "patient"

The JABSOM visit was made possible by the Maui Economic Development Board. Oshiro and the students were accompanied by Mrs. Maliekekai Ward, an entrepreneurship teacher and Career and Technical Education coordinator at Molokaʻi High School. 

"The message I share with our students is that they should follow their dreams, do what they love, and remember that the sky's the limit," Ward said.

Oshiro dreams of going to the University of Washington for her undergraduate degree, going to JABSOM for medical school, and finally returning to Molokaʻi to serve her community.

"Being in such an isolated, small community, we just hope that our kids come back, and a lot of our kids do want to come back," Ward said. "I hope Logan continues to grow her love for the medical field, and we look forward to her serving her community and being a part of this."

For more information on getting a tour of JABSOM or learning more about opportunities in the medical field, please visit our Hawaii Pre-Health Career Corps page.