July 1, 2010 – Hilo, Hawaii
Video by David Corrigan
Lt. Governor Duke Aiona was in Hilo today, where he delivered an over-sized check totalling $140,000 in state funds to the multi-disciplinary physician training program at the Hawaii Island Family Health Center.
Referring to the released funds as “an investment”, the Lt. Governor (and Republican gubernatorial candidate) said he was impressed by the collaboration and support the program is getting in the community.
It has taken a long time for the funds to be released by the state. Aiona eluded to the delay, blaming fiscal uncertainties. However, the Lt. Governor said the administration is encouraged by positive signs that the economy may finally be turning the corner, and has taken notice of the grass roots effort to keep the program funded.
“I thank the Governor for approving the release of funds for the residency program,” said Howard N. Ainsley, East Hawaii Regional CEO for Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, in a media release. “This is a wonderful occasion for our community, collaborating partners and supporters who believe in this program wholeheartedly.”
The following information was also included in the media release:
The state’s appropriation of $70,000 each for fiscal years 2010 and 2011 is intended to go toward further developing the training program in downtown Hilo . HIFHC opened in April 2009 with Dr. Lucy Bucci, HIFHC Site Director, caring for 634 patients in its first year of operation. In April 2010, Dr. Junedale Nishiyama joined the clinic as the second faculty physician.
In this program, newly graduated medical doctors (“residents”) would spend three years undergoing specialty training in family practice under the direction of UH Manoa’s John A. Burns School of Medicine’s Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. The next goal is to begin an accredited Family Medicine Residency Program at the site. The medical school hopes to graduate four family medicine specialists per year.
In addition to being the sponsoring hospital of the residency program, Hilo Medical Center manages the daily operations of the clinic. The clinic was originally launched by University Clinical Education Research Associates, the faculty practice plan at the University of Hawai’i ’s medical school. 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, Hilo Medical Center Foundation and the citizens of the Big Island.