Residency Program

In 2008 the Hilo Medical Center Foundation was instrumental in the fundraising campaign to help the Hilo Medical Center establish the island’s first residency program after state funding was withheld. This program is vital for our community in recruiting more physicians to practice on the island. Since 2008 the community has supported and still supports the need for this important program.

As many of our residents are aware, our island is experiencing a severe physician shortage. Medical school graduates are typically required to undergo three years of on-the-job residency training at hospitals. The Rural Residency program, Hawaii Island Family Medicine Residency, was founded based on research that shows at least 80 percent of doctors stay and work where they complete their residency. It’s important that medical students train in our community so they can become comfortable here and understand the challenges that our island faces. This is the best solution to attract, train and retain doctors and other medical professionals on an ongoing basis.

Thanks to the help of the Hilo Medical Center Foundation and other organizations, the clinic opened its doors on April 30, 2009 at 45 Mohouli Street in Hilo. The Foundation continues to accept funds for this very important program as well as manage the restricted funds that have been generously donated.

History:

1990s

  • First push to create a rural family practice residency program on the Big Island

2006

  • The offices of Senators Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka facilitated a Centers for Medicaid and Medicare grant to help launch the program.

2007

  • HMSA Foundation awarded $535,678 to the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM).

2008

  • Legislature passed Act 277, allotting $4 million to the program; however, the funds were not released.
  • The Hilo Medical Center Foundation organized a petition to gain support for the program
  • State-allotted funds for the program were withheld.
  • The Hilo Medical Center Foundation sent a petition to Governor Lingle with over 6,000 signatures in support of the program.

2009

  • The Hilo Medical Center Foundation, the Community Healthcare Alliance Taskforce (CHAT), the Hilo Medical Center, JABSOM, and local government and businesses began working together to raise the $1.5 million needed to establish the program.
  • 2009 legislative season awarded $60,000 to JABSOM.
  • HMSA awarded $150,000 to JABSOM.
  • Hawaii County Council awarded $72,441.65 to the Foundation.
  • The Atherton Foundation awarded $25,000 to the Foundation.
  • The Nado and Mieko Yoshinaga Foundation awarded $10,808 to the Foundation.

2010

  • The Hilo Medical Center takes over the daily operations of the program.
  • 2010 State House introduces House Bill 2801 with $2.5 million for the program.
  • Governor Lingle releases $140,000 to JABSOM.
  • The Max & Yetta Karasik Family Foundation awarded $11,800 to the Foundation.

2011

  • Dr. Kristine Mccoy is hired as the full time program director for the Residency Program.

2012

  • The Foundation received the Shipper’s Wharf grant to help with the Diabetes Program at the Residency Program.The Hilo Medical Center Foundation travels to Oahu to educate legislators regarding the need for funds as a line item in the budget.

How You Can Help:

  • Make a charitable gift to the Hilo Medical Center Foundation in care of the Residency Program.
  • Invite your family and friends to support the Foundation and the program, and inform them of the benefits of training physicians in Hilo.
  • Urge your State legislatures, county officials, and other leaders to support the program.

“We all recognize the dire need for physicians in our community. Contribution to this program is an investment in ensuring future healthcare for our families.”

- Lori Rogers, HMCF Executive Director