Tuesday, March 13th, 2012
Big Island Weekly
On March 2, 2012, under an early-morning rainbow above the Hilo Hospital, a blessing was done by Kahu Kimo Awai and a “Mahalo” party was held to thank the community groups and members who donated funds, business in-kind donations, and “sweat labor” from various community and civic groups. The cottage will be used for medical students who travel to Hilo and as temporary housing for Residency Program doctors. The goal is to get doctors to stay and practice in East Hawaii or Hawaii Island to work on the impending physician shortage.
“This project was truly a heartwarming experience in which many elements of the East Hawaii Community came together with voluntary donations of money, labor, and materials to undertake a project designed to assist in helping solve the long-term health needs of the Island,” said Lori Rogers, Executive Director of the Hilo Medical Center Foundation.
With the advent of the Rural Residency Program, however, it was suggested as a possible place where medical students and Residents might stay during their training period in Hilo; left to their own devices, they have difficulty in finding available and affordable housing. With demographic studies showing a critical future shortage of Doctors on the Island of Hawaii, any assistance rendered to medical students and Residents-in-training might make them far more amenable to locating and setting up practices here once their training is completed. The idea took hold, and HMC started to investigate the idea of renovation and turned to the Foundation for help. Their Foundation’s stated mission, after all, is “to support the Hilo Medical Center with projects that benefit the greater community.” It is to that end that the Foundation has already completed successful projects including renovation of the HMC Emergency Room, assistance in securing location of the Osaka Veterans’ Home, furnishing of a new Transport Van for use by the Extended Care Home, re-carpeting of the HMC lobby, as well as various other in-hospital rehabs and refurnishing efforts. To the Foundation, the project was eminently do-able, and with community participation could be accomplished at far less cost than otherwise projected. The “River Cottage” is a fairly large 12-room home that sits on the bluff overlooking the Wailuku River, situated just mauka of the upper parking lot above the Hilo Medical Center main hospital building. It’s hardly visible as one proceeds up Waianuenue past the Hospital toward Pi`ihonua. Included in the home is an entry hall, living room, four bedrooms, three bathrooms, kitchen and laundry as well as an attached covered patio and double covered two-car garage.
“We are honored that our community helped the Foundation achieve this wonderful project for our community hospital” said Rogers. “Everyone can make a difference in improving the hospital and we applaud the commitment to the community.”
Please consider donating to the mission by visiting our donation page or call our office at 935-2957.