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Department of Family Medicine: A look back at the HOME Project in 2017

October 22, 2017 —
Pictured: HOME Project founder Jill Omori (JABSOM MD 1995) at the fundraiser. Photo by Michael McNulty.

By Deborah Manog, UH Med Now

It was a sight to see as first and second-year medical students donning spotless white coats navigated through a sea of tables and chairs at Hoʻola me ke kahiau (healing with compassion through selfless giving), the 2017 fundraiser for the Hawaiʻi Homeless Outreach and Medical Education (H.O.M.E.) Project on October 7th.

Instead of balancing books and rigorous classes at the Medical School building, students, volunteered as servers, balancing freshly-prepared dinner plates in one hand and bottles of wine in the other to 252 guests at the annual dinner and silent auction benefit.

The night started off with music by Koa Road and a special guest performance by Bobby Moderow from the Na Hoku Hanohano award-winning group Maunalua. Over 150 items were up for bid including a 4×6 foot original painting by Hawaii artist Thomas Deir, valued at $4,500 dollars. Delicious plates of food were created by Lee Alan Dung, former chef and owner of Iwayama Sushi, Chef Kevin Hanney from 12th Ave Grill, Chef Jason Ichiki of Roy’s Waikiki, Chef Alex Le of The Pig and the Lady and Chef Ron Simon of Olena.

HOME volunteers are pictured in Wai’anae, one of seven sites they provide free health care on O’ahu, four times a week. Michael McNulty Photo.

Each year, proceeds from the fundraiser benefit the clinics and initiatives of the Hawaiʻi H.O.M.E. Project. H.O.M.E. is an organization at the University of Hawaiʻi John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) that Dr. Jill Omori, (JABSOM MD 1995) founded in 2005 after she noticed the influx of homeless families beginning to set up sleeping places near the medical school grounds in Kaka’ako. She knew they needed many things, including health care, and set about organizing volunteer MD students and physicians to provide that care. Dr. Omori and JABSOM worked the clinic mission into the school’s curriculum, which requires community service by MD students during their first two years of study. Dr. Omori and the Hawai’i H.O.M.E. Project raised money to equip first a donated van, and later a large trailer van, in which the volunteers set out to assemble health clinics four times a week at seven different locations. Dr. Omori manages all of this, while also serving as Director of the Office of Medical Education at JABSOM.

About the Hawaiʻi Homeless Outreach and Medical Education Project
Through the H.O.M.E. Project the medical student volunteers gain community experience while providing much-needed service to our homeless population. The volunteers provide care for both acute and chronic medical problems, preventative care, immunizations and TB-testing, health counseling, resource/referral help as well as perform minor procedures and provide free medications for the uninsured.

For more information see hawaiihomeproject.org

Click here to see photos, provided by Michael McNulty, H.O.M.E. Project Coordinator.