UH Medical School Graduates Include 4 from Maui

June 2, 2019, 10:40 AM HST · Updated June 2, 10:40 AM
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Hawaiʻi’s neighbor islands have produced 13 new physicians, including four from Maui, who received their MD degrees May 11, 2019 from the University of Hawaiʻi John A. Burns School of Medicine.

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    Each of them will begin their careers as physicians working under the supervision of faculty MDs in Residency Programs as they specialize in their chosen field of expertise.

    Some may go on to Fellowships after their Residency training to satisfy further sub-specialty requirements.

    Residency and Fellowship training years begin every July 1st, including at academic training medical centers in Hawaiʻi.

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    Below is information about each of the newly graduated neighbor island physicians.

    From Maui:

    Ailea Apana, MD, who will begin her Residency in Psychiatry at the UH Residency Programs in Honolulu. Dr. Apana, from Kahului, earned her BA in Biology in 2011 from Pitzer College. Dr. Apana is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools Maui Campus and earned her admission to JABSOM through successful completion of the UH medical school’s ʻImi Hoʻōla Program.

    Celina Hayashi, MD, will begin her Residency in Family Medicine at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle. She is from Makawao, Maui, and earned her B.A. in Biology from Scripps College in 2014. She is a graduate of King Kekaulike High School and was crowned Miss Hawaiʻi Filipina in 2009 and Miss Valley Isle in 2014. At the medical school Dr. Hayashi was an active member of the JABSOM Gold Humanism Honor Society. Dr. Hayashi received the Dr. Volt H. Tom Excellence in Geriatric Medicine Award at the JABSOM Convocation Awards Ceremony. Recently, she was one of the student speakers for the UH Mānoa Filgrad, a graduation recognition ceremony for students of Filipino ancestry.

    Justin Shortell, MD, from Haʻikū, will undergo training to become an Ophthalmologist at both Intermountain Medical Center in Utah and Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. Shortell earned his BA in Biology in 2015 from UH Mānoa. He is a graduate of King Kekaulike High School and has a strong desire to return to the island of Maui and help preserve and restore the precious gift of vision amongst those in the community he grew up in. At the UH medical school, Shortell was an active member of the Alpha Omega Alpha medical student Honor Society. Dr. Shortell received the ACP Bernard Yim, MD Award and Glenn M. Kokame, MD Memorial Award for Surgery at the recent JABSOM Convocation Awards Ceremony.

    Jessica Leinaʻala Y.L.K. Song, MD, from Kula, will train in Internal Medicine in the Kaiser Permanente Hawaiʻi Residency in Honolulu. She earned her BS in Chemistry from UH Mānoa in 2013. Dr. Song is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools Maui Campus.

    From Kauaʻi:

    Kelli Kurasaki, MD, of Koloa, will train in Family Medicine at the Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland, Virginia. She earned her BA in Molecular Cell Biology at UH Mānoa. She is a graduate of Kauaʻi High School. During medical school she received the Islands Hospice Scholarship for MD students pursuing geriatric or palliative medicine. Recently, Dr. Kurasaki received the Dr. Volt H. Tom Excellence in Geriatric Medicine Award at the JABSOM Convocation Awards Ceremony.

    Erica Lee, MD, originally from Waimea, Hawaiʻi Island, will enter the Preliminary Medicine Residency at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. Dr. Lee earned her BS in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention from the University of Southern California in 2013. She is a graduate of Punahou School. Dr. Lee was also a Narcissus Pageant Princess in 2017.

    Elisabeth Young, MD, of Līhue, will train in Pediatrics at the University of California San Francisco. Dr. Young earned a Master’s in Public Health from Harvard University in 2018. She earned her BS in Biochemistry from the University of Puget Sound in Washington State. She is a graduate of Kauaʻi High School. During medical school she was an active member of the JABSOM Gold Humanism Honor Society, was the winner of the 2017-2018 Excellence in Public Health Award from the United States Public Health Service and was selected by the American Medical Association Foundation to attend the first AMA Foundation Leadership Development Institute. Dr. Young’s ultimate goal is to return home to support the island she says has given her so much.

    From Hawai’i Island:

    Michael Brigoli, MD, of Hilo, will train in Internal Medicine at the University of Arizona. Dr. Brigoli is an Army veteran and former paramedic who entered medical school at the age of 38, because he saw the desperate need for lifesaving physicians on Hawai’i Island. Brigoli earned his BA in Public Administration from UH West O’ahu. Dr. Brigoli has been recognized nationally by the Association of American Medical College for his role as a mentor to other aspiring physicians. Dr. Brigoli was a firefighter before entering medical school. Dr. Brigoli is a graduate of Waipahu High School.

    Daniel Estess, MD, of Kailua-Kona, will train in Anesthesiology at Harbor UCLA Medical Center. Dr. Estess received his BS in Molecular Cell Biology from UH Mānoa in 2015. He is a graduate of Kealakehe High School. Dr. Estess received the Physicians’ Anesthesia Endowed Award at the recent JABSOM Convocation Awards Ceremony.

    Arcelita Imasa, MD, of Hilo, will train in Family Medicine at the UH Family Medicine Residency Training Program. Dr. Imasa received her BS in Nursing from UH Hilo in 2012. Imasa is a graduate of CCSP Lab High School (Philippines). Dr. Imasa also received the Dr. Volt H. Tom Excellence in Geriatric Medicine Award at the recent JABSOM Convocation Awards Ceremony.

    Charles Peebles, MD, of Kealakekua, will train in General Surgery at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine. Dr. Peebles earned his BA in Legal Studies in 2000 from UC Santa Cruz, and an MM in Jazz Studies from the University of North Texas in 2007. He was a professional jazz saxophone player and a music teacher before entering medical school. Dr. Peebles is a graduate of Konawaena High School.

    Gene Yoshikawa, MD, of Hilo, will train in the University of Hawaiʻi Internal Medicine Residency Program. He earned his BA in Japanese in 2012 from the University of Oregon, and a BS in Biology in 2014 from UH Mānoa. He is a graduate of Hilo High School. During medical school, he co-authored a paper on a study related to Alzheimer’s Disease, that was mentioned in the Journal of Neurochemistry. Dr. Yoshikawa received the E.E. Black Community Service Award at the JABSOM Convocation Awards Ceremony.

    Laylah Zelko, MD, of Kona, will train in General Surgery in the Riverside University Health System in Moreno Valley, California. She earned her BA in Biology from Mills College in 2015. She is a graduate of Kealakehe High School.

    About Residency Training:

    In addition to expanding the MD class size, which has increased from 62 to 75 under his tenure, JABSOM Dean Jerris Hedges believes expansion of graduate medical education in Hawaiʻi is a critically important part of addressing our state medical doctor shortage. More than 80% of MDs who graduate from JABSOM and train in UH Residency Programs stay to practice in the Islands, the highest retention rate among medical schools in the United States.

    The John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) sponsors 18 accredited graduate medical education programs, training about 220 physicians annually in residency and fellowship programs which last between three to seven years. Under faculty supervision the MDs work at our academic medical centers, providing needed health care while also gaining experience that will prepare them for licensure and board certification.

    The UH Residency Programs include the specialties of Family Medicine, Sports Medicine, Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Geriatric Medicine, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Orthopedic Surgery, Pathology, Pediatrics, Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, General Psychiatry, Addiction Medicine, Addiction Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Geriatric Psychiatry, General Surgery and Surgical Critical Care.

    Ailea Apana

    Celina Hayashi

    Justin Shortell

    Jessica Leina’ala Song

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