Innovative program allows college students to shadow doctors for a summer

Innovative program allows college students to shadow doctors for a summer

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Twelve college students who want to be doctors are being immersed in what physicians go through as they practice medicine.

They are this year's participants in Hawaii Pacific Health's Summer Student Research Program.

“I’ve always wanted to be a part of this program. It’s one of the best programs, I think, that Hawaii has for educating future physicians,” said Luke Taylor, a Punahou graduate who is in his senior year at Chapman University.

The group is being taught and mentored by Hawaii Pacific Health physicians.

“I think there is no better way to see whether you want to be in medicine or not than to shadow a doctor and see what they do every single day,” HPH pediatric cardiologist Andras Bratincsak said.

The students learn about clinical research and what doctors do on a daily basis.

"Even though we've been dealing with this COVID crisis we have still been able to go into operating rooms and see procedures and talk with the surgeons there," Yale University student Keala Akau said.

Since it was established in 1986, the Summer Student Research Program has taught more than 300 college kids.

"It's been extremely helpful to have all my questions answered, and to really ask them questions that you wouldn't normally think you could ask a physician," Taylor said.

The summer session also requires the students to do community service projects. This summer they delivered meals to senior citizens at the Lanakila Senior Center.

"Because of COVID-19 they have very many restrictions. Despite those restrictions they persevered and they did it with a smile," Bratincsak said.

Nearly ninety percent of the program's participants become doctors. Many are now physicians in Hawaii.

"It's pretty awesome to see how medicine works specifically in Hawaii, because our community is so different in terms of our cultural values and also our cultural makeup," Akau said.

The summer program ends next week when the students make their final presentations.

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