Taking on the challenge of access to affordable healthcare

Curtis Palmer
Curtis Palmer
Lia Schroeder
Lia Schroeder
Alan Yoneshige
Alan Yoneshige

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

KAHUKU (KHNL) - A big challenge for small communities in Hawaii is getting access to affordable healthcare.

But a few community organizations are doing their part to bridge the gap.

The Hawaii and Texas Air National Guards, the Hawaii Department of Health, the Kahuku Medical Center, along with other community organizations helped make Wednesday a fulfilling one for many North Shore residents.

It's called Hawaii Medical Innovative Readiness Training or Hi-Mart.

They give small, rural communities free health care services like dental, vision and physical screenings. At the same time, they gain valuable experience.

"It is a really good feeling because this is part of one of the reasons why most of us join the guard was to give back to our communities because this is our home, taking care of our communities is a good thing," Event coordinator Curtis Palmer said.

Lia Schroeder and her daughter Maya are just some of the families who benefit from this community health fair.

"Sometimes you're looking at a month wait just to have a child's teeth looked at and there's pain involved, they say the soonest we can get you in is a month, really not an ideal situation for a child," Schroeder said.

For the ones giving the care, it's a way of giving back to the places they came from.

"It's reaching out to the communities, considering what's going on in the world militarily and to have this opportunity to provide services to the community is just a good feeling," Therapist Alan Yoneshige said.

Schroeder and her daughter got their teeth checked on Wednesday. It's something they've been meaning to do for awhile.

"Yeah, our initial reaction is yeah, wish it could be a little more often and happy to rearrange our schedule to make sure we could be apart of it," she said.

Hand in hand, reaching new heights to help more people get access to affordable healthcare.

This was the third and final community health fair of the year. In Kahuku alone, they've given care to more than a thousand people. They've visited Waianae and the Ewa Plain earlier this year.