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Department of Family Medicine: Pali Momi becomes a major participating site for University of Hawaiʻi Family Medicine Residency

Pictured above: Doctors who are Residents and faculty of the Family Medicine program, outside Pali Momi Medical Center.

June 30, 2016 — Pali Momi Medical Center in ʻAiea has become the major participating hospital site for the University of Hawaiʻi Family Medicine Residency Program (UHFMRP).

The Family Medicine Residency program is one of 18 nationally accredited programs in different specialities and sub-specialties (including Fellowship training) sponsored by the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) in a partnership with numerous Hawaiʻi hospitals and clinics, where the physicians train under faculty supervision, while working toward licensure and board certification.

Each of the 18 resident physicians, over the course of a three-year Family Medicine training program, will spend six months or more at Pali Momi, an acute care hospital serving Leeward and Central O’ahu.

Pali Momi, a part of Hawai’i Pacific Health (HPH), joins its fellow HPH medical centers at Kapi’olani Medical Center for Women and Children and Straub Clinic and Hospital in serving as a primary care physician training site for the University of Hawai’i. HPH, noting that the training of future physicians is important for our local community and the state of Hawaiʻi, said the Family Medicine Residency Program will be an integral part of the organization’s strategy to help grow and retain a robust primary care workforce.A Family Medicine Residency Program applicant examines Dr. Cedric Akau's knee as MD Residents practice locating proper sites for injection on a colleague, at JABSOM in 2014.

Having the residency training program in the hospital brings several other benefits to Pali Momi. Besides expanding the referral base for inpatient services, to include many of the patients at the Family Medicine Department’s clinic site, The Physician Center at Mililani, referrals for outpatient services will also help bring additional revenues to the hospital. And there is synergy, because the Mililani clinic also provides a new receiving referral site for the patients presenting to Pali Momi who need outpatient follow-up but do not have an established primary care doctor.

The UH Family Medicine Residency Program’s faculty and residents will help to provide coverage for the inpatient services at Pali Momi 24 hours a day.

The educational focus will help the hospital and providers to stay current with the latest advances in medical care. The program and its residents will be actively engaged in the hospital’s continuous quality improvement and patient safety initiatives.

The presence of an academic program will also make it easier for the hospital to participate in important clinical and translational research and take advantage of grant funding opportunities. The Family Medicine Department faculty has already helped to bring millions of dollars in research and grant funding to Hawaiʻi and the Pacific.

The UH Family Medicine Residency Program has been training family medicine physicians to help meet the primary care workforce needs of Hawaiʻi and the Pacific Basin since 1994. With more than 120 graduates since its inception, the program has been a major contributor to providing board-certified primary care physicians for the people of Hawai‘i.

Nearly 80 percent of the program’s graduates practice in Hawaiʻi, the U.S.-associated Pacific Islands or underserved communities. Approximately 1/4 of program graduates take on more intensive education in fellowship training opportunities.

There are currently seven faculty members who have joined the Pali Momi medical staff and who will serve as attending physicians on the inpatient teaching service. The faculty all participate in Hawaiʻi Health Partners Accountable Care Organization and are already on call to the Emergency Department for the referral of unassigned patients in need of primary care.

“We are very excited about this expanded partnership with Pali Momi and the broader HPH community,” said UHFMRP Program Director Dr. Steven Hankins. “We are extremely grateful to Mr. Vara, the board and the hospital administration and staff for their tremendous support and flexibility as we have moved this process forward. This new chapter for both the program and the hospital will bring many opportunities for growth and synergy in mission, allowing us to better serve the health care needs of our community.”

In addition to Hawai’i Pacific Health hospitals at Pali Momi, Straub, Kap’iolani and Wilcox medical centers, the UH John A. Burns School of Medicine partners in MD (Medical Doctor) and DO (Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine) Residency training with The Queen’s Medical Center, Kuakini Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente Hawai’i, Castle Medical Center, Tripler, the Veterans Administration and community health centers.

Mahalo to Dr. Hankins for his assistance in this report.