The medical system in Hawaii, and specifically on the medically underserved island of Kauai, is poised to reap the benefits of an additional $10M donation from Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan.
It comes via a new fund being created at UH Manoa’s John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) specifically to create a training track for Kauai. There are currently 61 doctors needed on Kauai. Each year, six med students interested in rural medicine on Kauai and with connections to the islands will receive paid tuition and fees for all four years, plus transportation and lodging. The program lasts 6 years, which could add 36 doctors on the island.
UH’s president David Lassner, said, “We are tremendously grateful to Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg for their generous gift and commitment to our island’s community health. This gift will have a lasting ripple effect that will directly improve the health and wellness of Kauai’s families today, and in the future.”
Chan and Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement, “Expanding the medical community will help improve access to healthcare services for local residents—which is crucial to building a healthier community on Kauai. We’re honored to support the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaiʻi as they strive to address the physician shortage by creating a more robust pipeline of doctors.”
Kauai has good rural medicine, and attracts some great doctors who choose the island for its lifestyle. However, it severely lacks specialties. As a result, patients in need of those services are frequently sent off-island for care. — BOH
Previously Zuckerberg Donated $50 Million to Help Hawaii
The prior gift, announced in January by UH Manoa, of $50 Million, “Aims to Improve Hawaii’s Ocean Health.” It is a 7-year commitment to the UH Manoa SOEST Ocean Conservation Research. According to the UH, “the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) will leverage this gift to make meaningful progress in restoring Hawaiʻi’s ocean health.”
That gift comes just after it was reported that the University of Hawaii at Mānoa was ranked within the top 1% of all universities worldwide for academic, research excellence.
It is the largest cash gift ever to the university and will “fund research and programs that document changing ocean conditions, explore solutions to support healthier ocean ecosystems, enhance coastal resilience from storms and sea-level rise, and tackle challenges to marine organisms ranging from the tiniest corals to the largest predators.”
UH President David Lassner said when it was announced, “This transformative gift will enable our world-class experts to accelerate conservation research for the benefit of Hawaiʻi and the world. The ocean ecosystems that evolved over eons now face unprecedented threats from our growing human population and our behaviors. It is critical that we learn from previous generations who carefully balanced resource use and conservation. The clock is ticking, and we must fast-track not only our understanding of marine ecosystems and the impacts of climate change, but the actions we must take to reverse the devastation underway. There is no place on Earth better than Hawai‘i to do this work, and no institution better able than UH. We could not be more grateful for the investment of Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg in a better future for all of us and our planet.”
The Zuckerbergs’ commented, “Hawaii has one of the richest marine ecosystems in the world — and having a deeper understanding of this ecosystem is the key to preserving and protecting it. We’re honored to support the University of Hawaii’s conservation efforts, including their trailblazing research on coral reef restoration, the impact of climate change on coastal waters, and other areas related to the health of our oceans.”
The School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa is a world-class research and academic institution focused on informing solutions to some of the world’s most challenging problems. Through an integrated, comprehensive, and sustained system of Earth and planetary observations, research, and education, SOEST staff work to transform the way people live on Earth by enabling a healthy public, economy, and planet. This gift also funds critical efforts to inform the public, policymakers, and resource managers of ocean acidification and warming vulnerabilities.