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Native Hawaiian Health Care Electives

Contact: Dee-Ann Carpenter, MD
Phone: (808) 692-1074

1. Health Care in Native Hawaiian Communities
Program Director/Coordinator: Dee-Ann Carpenter, MD
Locations: In one of the Native Hawaiian Health Care Systems and/or community health care centers or private physician office located on the following islands: Hawaii, Kauai, Maui, Molokai, and Oahu
Department: Native Hawaiian Health
Pre-requisite: Medicine 531 (Third Year Clerkship)
Duration: 4 weeks, available all blocks
Number of Students: 1 to 5 students per block depending on site

  • Define and begin development of a set of clinical skills (e.g. communication, observational, community-specific) needed in optimal health care of Native Hawaiians in a Native Hawaiian community.
  • Explore and list a set of unique considerations (e.g. cultural, economic, social, ethical) for optimal health care delivery in Native Hawaiian communities.
  • Explore and list research opportunities observed in service to Native Hawaiians in an underserved community.
  • Explore and list elements of career commitment needed to serve this currently underserved community.
  • Understand and explain the integrative ways that the Native Hawaiian Health Care Systems use to incorporate traditional and western medicine.
  • Student will review the course prospective and evaluation forms in advance with the elective coordinator, the UH Department of Native Hawaiian Health staff person and the community supervising physician.
  • Student will participate in direct patient care responsibility of Native Hawaiian out-patients (and possibly in-patients) under appropriate community physician supervision with feedback and opportunities for self-instruction and research.
  • Student will be immersed in the medical-cultural-social milieu of a Native Hawaiian community.
  • Students may have one-on-one/small group lectures/discussions with the elective coordinator, Dr. Dee-Ann Carpenter, and the community supervising physician.
  • Reading material on traditional Native Hawaiian medicine and health will be available during the rotation.
  • Students will be able to work with traditional healers/cultural specialists at the clinic sites, when available.
  • The community supervising physician and traditional healer/cultural specialist will provide continuous feedback monitoring of the student in Native Hawaiian patient care.
  • Recommendations will be made by the student, the community physician and/or the elective coordinator in mid-elective and at the end of the elective based on the experience of the student.
  • At the end of the elective, the community supervising physician and the traditional healer/cultural specialist will evaluate the student’s overall performance with the student, complete the evaluation form and give it to the student to submit to the elective coordinator.
  • At the end of the elective, the student will evaluate this elective on the appropriate form, submit it with the supervising physician’s evaluation of the student to the elective coordinator for summary final evaluations.
  • An essay on the integration of Native Hawaiian healing and Western Medicine, as experienced during the rotation, will be due by the last week to the coordinator.
  • Students will receive feedback from the community physician and elective coordinator regarding perceived knowledge in the interface between traditional and western medicine. This may/may not be in the form of a quiz regarding Native Hawaiian healing terminology.
  • At the end of the elective, the elective coordinator will meet with the student to review the evaluations of the student and the student’s evaluation of the elective. They will decide on an appropriate formal course grade for the student. The formal determination of the Credit/No Credit grade will be made at this point. The essay discussed above will be turned in prior to this meeting.
Student Eligibility:
  • There is limited space available for this unique elective. Priority is given to University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine students. Once all applications are complete, students are notified of acceptance.
  • For out of state applicants:

    • The John A. Burns School of Medicine Visiting Student Elective Application must be completed prior to acceptance to elective. Some University requirements apply.
    • Current medical school authorization and confirmation of credit transfer must be completed prior to acceptance. Student’s own medical school must cover malpractice insurance for individual.
  • All applicants must complete the following essays.

    • Why you want to take this elective/ what do you hope to gain from this experience?
    • What ties, if any, do you have to the Native Hawaiian Community? If so, which community?
    • Which island and/or site interests you and why?
    • Will you need lodging arrangements during your stay? The student is responsible for their own lodging, travel and meals.
  • Tuition costs do not include travel, lodging, or meals. An application fee may be assessed by the Office of Student Affairs, John A. Burns School of Medicine.
How to Apply:
JABSOM Applicants:

  • Contact Coordinator of intent to apply for NHH 545
  • Complete the essays under ‘Student Eligibility’ and the 4th year elective application
  • Submit completed essays to:

    Department of Native Hawaiian Health
    ATTN: Dee-Ann Carpenter, MD
    651 Ilalo Street, MEB 306E
    Honolulu, HI 96813

    Or via email to

Out of State Applicants: US/Canada/Puerto Rico

  • Contact the Electives Coordinator in the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) listed on the Visiting Students page
  • Complete the Visiting Student Senior Elective Application
  • Submit completed essays to:

    Department of Native Hawaiian Health
    ATTN: Dee-Ann Carpenter, MD
    651 Ilalo Street, MEB 306E
    Honolulu, HI 96813

    Or via email to

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