UH Med School Providing Health Care Where Needed

Dr. Alan Hixon
Dr. Alan Hixon

KAKAAKO (KHNL) - The UH School of Medicine is moving to provide quality health care where it's needed most.

On the neighbor islands.

The school received a grant Thursday that will help kick start a family doctor training program in Hilo where quality medical care is difficult to come by according to family physician Greg Shikuma.

"This whole idea started in the 90's when we got state funding and it went to hibernation, now it's back again and it's gratifying to see because nobody can find a doctor on the big island".

The problem according to health care professionals is most doctors tend to remain where they train.

Until now residents only did a two month rotation in Hilo.

The plan now is for residents to spend their second and third years on site at Hilo Medical Center.

"And the idea is that over a period of years they would develop ties to their patients and become a part of the community and then many of them would choose to remain in practice there for their career" said residency program director Dr. Alan Hixon.

Previous efforts to convince new physicians to work and live in rural areas have proven difficult.

But with a continuous rotation of residents going to the big island, the hope now is to create a consistent pipeline of physicians.

Third year chief resident Tracy Masaki-Tesoro believes the plan will work.

"And i think as more and more residents get exposed to that with this rural training track this will be very beneficial to the medical needs on the outer islands in general".