May 17, 2017 — On May 12, the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health (OB-GYN) celebrated its new collaboration with the Hilo Bay Clinic and Hilo Medical Center on Hawaiʻi Island. Starting in 2018, the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) OB-GYN residency program will be hosting its first clinical rotation on the Big Island. Through this collaboration, third-year residents will have the opportunity to take care of patients in an underserved community.
Dr. Kareem Khozaim (pictured above, with lei) is the first UHP doctor who will contribute to the department of OB-GYN’s latest efforts on Hilo.
As an OB-GYN generalist, Dr. Khozaim focuses on taking care of women from adolescence to their elderly lives. He currently serves an assistant clinical professor at JABSOM and was recently signed on as a physician for University Health Partners of Hawaiʻi (UHP), the medical school’s faculty practice. He is an alumnus of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and completed his residency at Indiana University in July 2014.
Dr. Kareem Khozaim.
As an individual who was raised in a family of strong female physicians, Dr. Khozaim recognized the struggles that women face, both on a socioeconomic and personal level.
“On a global level, women have gotten the short end of the stick in almost every way,” he said. “A woman’s medical health is intimately intertwined with her socioeconomic status, and as an OB-GYN I hope to significantly affect both. A strategy as simple as helping a woman manage her fertility can have profound effects on an entire family’s socioeconomic status.”
This perspective in improving global health led to his work in Kenya during his medical school and residency training. During that time, he focused on providing cervical cancer screening for women with HIV. After his residency, he was employed at the Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) Tropical Medical Center in Pago Pago, American Samoa.
“I loved it there [in American Samoa],” Dr. Khozaim said. “From a physician perspective, I was able to see and do many things that probably I probably wouldn’t see or do in the mainland too much.”
Aside from being exposed to uncommon conditions and procedures, one of his main projects at the LBJ Tropical Medical Center was establishing and developing minimally invasive gynecologic surgery services.
The Hilo Bay Clinic provides services to underserved communities on the Big Island, which is what drew Dr. Khozaim to work for JABSOM and UHP. He hopes to inspire newly-trained physicians to provide services on Hilo or in other areas in need of medical services. The agreement with both the medical school and the faculty practice will hopefully allow him to continue his work in American Samoa once a year to maintain his relationship with the LBJ Tropical Medical Center and the community at large.
“I am very excited about UH and UHP partnering with Hilo Bay Clinic,” he said. “A UH presence in the Big Island seems long overdue and I think everyone is optimistic about the positive impact UH can have on Hilo, and the Big Island in general … This community definitely deserves our attention.”