Categorized | Health

Second full-time physician hired at UH medical training clinic


634 patients seen since clinic opened last April

A second faculty member/physician has been hired at the Hawai‘i Island Family Health Center, which is gearing up to launch the first neighbor island medical residency training program in the state.

Just over a year ago, Dr. Lucy Bucci began seeing her first patients at the center. She has been joined this month by Dr. Junedale Nishiyama. Since it opened on April 1, 2009, 634 patients have received care.

The center, at 45 Mohouli Street in Hilo, treats neighbor island patients while simultaneously training our future health providers. It is a partnership between the Hilo Medical Center and faculty and students of the University of Hawai‘i System in medicine, nursing (including nurse practitioner) and pharmacy.

The next goal is to begin an accredited Family Medicine Residency Program at the site. In the residency program, newly-graduated medical doctors (“residents”) would spend three years undergoing specialty training in family medicine. Once up and running, UH hopes to graduate four family medicine specialists per year.

“This is extremely important for East Hawai‘i,” said Dr. Robert Irvine, chair of the East Hawai‘i Regional Board. “When we are successful, we expect similar programs will be extended to other neighbor island locations. The great need for primary care physicians, including family practitioners, is expected to increase for the next several decades. Training programs such as this are necessary for future medical care on the neighbor islands.”

The core group of providers at the center will include four full-time family physician faculty, a UH Manoa faculty nurse practitioner and a UH Hilo College of Pharmacy faculty position. Several part-time preceptors (community doctors and specialists) will be incorporated into the training as necessary, with the goal of employing nine full-time health care providers, including a nurse clinical manager who will teach nursing students from UH Hilo.

The center was launched by University Clinical Education Research Associates, the faculty practice plan at the University of Hawai’i’s medical school. It is now overseen by the Hilo Medical Center. Collaborating partners include: Hilo Medical Center, UH Manoa’s John A. Burns School of Medicine, UH Manoa’s School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene, UH Hilo School of Nursing, UH Hilo’s College of Pharmacy and UH Manoa’s Department of Psychiatry. Major funding has been provided by the U.S. government (TRI-WEST), HMSA and the citizens of the Big Island.

“The community, local businesses and government’s support for the program has been overwhelming,” said Howard N. Ainsley, East Hawai‘i regional CEO of Hawai‘i Health Systems Corporation. Ainsley noted that last year, the Rotary of South Hilo contributed $12,000 raised in the community, and plans once again to donate a portion of money raised at its “Huli fundraiser” on May 2 to the multi-disciplinary training and treatment center.

Donations are accepted at the Hilo Medical Center Foundation at 1190 Waianuenue Avenue, Hilo, Hawai‘i 96720.

For more information specific to a collaborating partner, please contact the following representatives:

  • Hilo Medical Center: Elena Cabatu, community relations manager, office (808) 974-4738, cell (808) 333-7223,
  • UH Manoa’s John A. Burns School of Medicine: Tina Shelton, director of communications, office (808) 692-0897, cell (808) 554-2586,
  • UH Manoa’s School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene: Stephanie Marshall, director of community partnership, office (808) 956-5421, cell (808) 561-6015,
  • UH Hilo College of Pharmacy: Maggie Morris, public information director, cell (808) 333-2889,
  • UH Hilo School of Nursing: Dr. Kay Daub, director and professor, office (808) 974-7761,

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: