Categorized | Health, News

‘So, You Can’t Find A Doctor?’ topic set for Waimea Town Meeting Thursday (May 3)


“So, You Can’t Find A Doctor?” – You are not alone. In fact, the shortage of physicians is a troubling crisis, both in the Waimea-North Hawai’i region, island- and statewide…and in many other parts of the country.

Those in the know say there are no easy answers, but overcoming the challenge begins with getting a better understanding of the health care workforce situation in Hawai’i, then concentrating on the unique challenges of Hawai’i Island and North Hawai’i and determining what the community can do to help.

To address this concern, Waimea Community Association is organizing a panel discussion for the next Waimea Town Meeting at 5:15 p.m., Thurs., May 3, 2012, in Waimea School Cafeteria.
The panel will outline the issues that have caused a physician shortage in Hawaii, and will discuss the advantages and challenges that a physician faces in locating a practice in Hawai’i, especially in relatively rural communities such as those in North Hawai’i. The panelists will also address local needs, and the work currently being done to recruit and retain physicians here in North Hawaii. The formal program will end with a discussion of ways in which the community at large can help in the process, said WCA Board Member Paul Johnston. A question and answer period will follow.

Panel members will include Karen Pellegrin, Ph.D., M.B.A., and Director of Continuing/Distance Education and Strategic Planning with the Center for Rural Health Science, UH College of Pharmacy. Dr. Pellegrin’s is the author of “A Brief Survey to Identify Priorities for Improving Clinician Recruitment and Retention: Results from Hawai‘i Island Physicians,” which appeared in the April issue of the Hawaii Journal of Medicine and Public Health. Kristen Knudson, M.P.H., is Assistant Director of the Hawai’i/Pacific Basin Area Health Education Center at UH-Manoa’s John A. Burns School of Medicine. She will speak about the state-wide study “Hawai‘i Physician Workforce Assessment 2010.” Dr. William Park, President and CMO of the North Hawai’i Medical Group and Vice President of North Hawai’i Community Hospital will address our local needs, and the work that NHCH is doing to meet them. Dana Lee, a Waimea pediatrician and founder of Paniolo Pediatrics in Waimea, will present a physician’s perspective on moving to a practice in Hawaii.

“I believe that community members can make a big difference in the recruitment and retention process and there is a lot of helpful research about what attracts and what convinces a physician to come to and remain in a community,” said Johnston. “We need to participate in this process as a community to ensure that residents have ready access to excellent care.”

Everyone is invited to all WCA Town Meetings and there is no charge for membership though donations are always welcome to support the organizations community information-education mission.

WCA’s ongoing free light bulb exchange will continue at the May 3 Town Meeting. Residents are invited to bring old incandescent bulbs to exchange for free new CFLs.

Also on the agenda will be an update on the newly formed Coqui-Free Waimea (CFW) coalition, which has received a Hawai’i Community Foundation Ho’ohui ‘O Waimea Richard Smart Fund grant to support its eradication efforts to fight back against an invasion by this noisy alien pest. CFW coalition members will update the community on recent purchase of equipment and educational projects to encourage community members to report and assist with eradication in their immediate neighborhood.

CFW has established a team of neighborhood captains who are prepared to respond at no charge providing permission can be secured from the property owner. To learn more about CFW, go to, and also “like” the Coqui-Free Waimea” page on Facebook, or email Current neighborhood captains are as follows – though more a needed:

  • Waiaka/Akulani: Cherry Sanford (650-862-7900)
  • Puu Nani: Barbara Haight (895-5513) or Steve Urbic (747-0479)
  • Iokua Place: Ann Lum (640-4704)
  • Laelae/Opelo: Bob Bonar – CFW Chair – (769-2582)
  • Vacationland: Cricket Higginson (885-5311)
  • Tamarack Pines: CC Arnott (885-1659)
  • Lakeland: Bill Lindsey (896-5040)
  • Other neighborhoods: Jeannie Oshima & Tom Bailey (887-1027)

As always at WCA Town Meetings, donations are urged for Waimea food pantries — preferably checks or cash to enable pantry staff to purchase fresh fruit, vegetables and other essentials for families in need. Also, hot coffee provided by Starbucks-Waimea will be offered. There is no charge for the coffee, but donations are welcome for the coffee to be given to the food pantry too.

For more information, go to Waimea Community Association’s website: and sign up on home page, or call WCA President Sherman Warner (885-1725).

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