Categorized | Health

‘White Coat Ceremony’ welcomes MD Class of 2017

JABSOM MD Class of 2017 (Photo courtesy of UH)

JABSOM MD Class of 2017 (Photo courtesy of UH)


High school sports fans: We’ve got you covered, as a new class of aspiring physicians enters the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

We’ve got Red Raiders from Kahuku and Kauai, and Warriors from Waiakea and Kamehameha. We’ve also got Vikings, Tigers, Trojans, Cougars, Falcons, Bulldogs, Rough Riders, Na alii, Junior ‘Bows, Owls, Pride, Lancers and Menehune, along with Buff and Blue and Raiders, too.

One of our newest medical students isn’t just a fan of the home team. He is a former standout defensive lineman who maintained a 4.0 grade point average in biology while sacking the other team’s quarterbacks for New Mexico State University.

David Niumatalolo doesn’t tell you that when you first meet him. He’s remarkably low-key when asked to introduce himself.

“I went to Kahuku High School and New Mexico State, and I just want to say thank you to my friends and family for supporting me,” Niumatalolo said.

No mention that he was a standout athlete on and off the gridiron who also served two years on a Mormon mission in Africa. In 2011, the College Sports Information Directors of America named him to the Capital One Academic All-America First Team.

Like Niumatalolo, Hawaii high school graduates make up 82 percent of the entering MD Class at JABSOM. The 66 members of the new MD class were chosen from among 1,880 applicants for the MD Class of 2017; each has an impressive personal story.

Kyan Agbayani, a graduate of Aiea High and the UH Manoa Honors Program, will be the first in his family to become a physician.

“Right now, I’m open to any field, primary care or specialty — I don’t want to pigeonhole myself right now; who knows?” Agbayani said. Who knows, indeed, how many remarkable futures lay ahead for these young men and women who may soon save the lives of any one of us, our family members or neighbors.

Among the new class as Big Island students: Stephanie Chu, a graduate of Hilo High School; Erik Lau, of Keaau (graduated from Kamehameha Hawaii); Alain Takane of Hilo (Waiakea High School graduate); and Erica Warkus of Waikoloa, (graduated from Parker School).

Hilo physician is keynote speaker

JABSOM introduced its newest class at a White Coat Ceremony this Friday, July 19, at the Kaimuki High Auditorium. (The White Coat Ceremony is named for the waist-length white cloaks incoming students wear in clinical settings to identify themselves as medical students.)

Dr. Melanie Arakaki, a 1998 JABSOM alumna and a family physician in Hilo, served as the keynote speaker. Arakaki is the 2013 recipient of the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award, presented by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.

The JABSOM MD Class of 2013 selected Arakaki in recognition of her compassion and professionalism. Arakaki is a clinical professor who volunteers countless hours helping to train JABSOM medical students on clerkship rotations in Hilo.

More than 1,000 of Hawaiiʻs physicians, like Arakaki, are volunteer faculty.

More facts about JABSOM and the MD Class of 2017:

* 61 percent are women

* 21 attended public school in Hawaii

* 33 attended private school in Hawaii

* 30 percent went to college in Hawaii

* 10 hold graduate degrees

* Six completed JABSOM’s Imi Hoola (“Those who seek to heal”) Post-Baccalaureate Program for students from disadvantaged or underserved backgrounds

* About half of the doctors treating patients in Hawaii trained at JABSOM

* The medical school educates 264 medical students annually and oversees the training of another 230 physicians in post-MD education, in cooperation with Hawaii’s major medical centers and the Hawaii Residency Programs, Inc.

* Nearly 80 pecent of the “Best Doctors” identified in Hawaii in 2013 trained at JABSOM

* JABSOM students routinely score above the national average in the US Medical Licensing Exam

* Tuition for in-state medical students in 2013-2014 is $31,608

* Tuition for out-of-state medical students in 2013-2014 is $65,232

* The median annual income of our students’ families is $85,000

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