(BIVN) – Hundreds turned out to mark a milestone medical moment in Hilo on Friday afternoon.
The Hawaii Island Family Residency Program graduated its inaugural class of residents: Dr. Kā’ohimanu Dang Akiona, Svetlana Shchedrina, MD and Seren Tokumura, MD.
Organizers say the historic event is over 20 years in the making, and a “true testament of community will to establish a Family Medicine Training Program to grow primary care physicians on Hawaii Island to address physician shortage.”
The program appears to be having the desired effect. All three graduating physicians will be staying in Hawaii to practice medicine, officials with the program say.
The event took place under a large tent at Wailoa State Park next to the statue of King Kamehameha the Great.
Hawaii Health Systems Corporation says it aims to “train and retain primary care providers to relieve the severe shortage of primary care physicians and improve access to healthcare in Hawaii.” HHSC is embarking on year four of its Primary Care Training Program (PCTP), “an emerging model of success in Family Medicine Residency for Neighbor Island and rural communities throughout Hawaii.”
The effort continues. On Friday, March 17, the National Resident Matching Program® matched Devin Hazama, DO; Kallan Ross, MBChB; Mililani Trask-Batti, MD; and Warren Yamashita, MD with Hilo Medical Center’s Hawaii Island Family Medicine Residency Program (HIFMR). These new physicians are scheduled to arrive in Hilo and begin their training this summer.