Twelve outstanding college undergraduates recently completed the 2015 Hawaii Pacific Health Summer Student Research Program (SSRP), an eight-week undergraduate research program that gives college students a backstage pass into the world of medicine. The highly competitive program attracts some of Hawaii’s most talented college students interested in pursuing a career in medicine.
Since its inception in 1986, nearly 300 students have participated in the program. Many program alumni go on to medical and research programs at prestigious institutions nationwide, and several return home to practice in Hawaii.
“There is a shortage of physicians in Hawaii, and this program is one way that we’re working to help solve this problem – by introducing bright, young students to a career in medicine,” said Hawaii Pacific Health Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Kenneth Robbins, MD.
Over the course of the eight-week program, the research scholars had the opportunity to conduct clinical research, shadow physicians, observe surgeries and other medical procedures, and tour medical facilities including at Hawaii Pacific Health’s four hospitals – Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children, Pali Momi Medical Center, Straub Clinic & Hospital and Wilcox Memorial Hospital.
Each research scholar also completes a clinical research project with the guidance of a physician mentor from one of Hawaii Pacific Health’s four hospitals. This year, projects covered topics such as concussions in high school athletes, prostate cancer screening, reducing postoperative pneumonia, and improved growth outcomes for preterm infants, among others.
This year’s research scholars included:
• Charlene Caoili, graduate of Roosevelt High School and current student at Manhattanville College in New York;
• Bolin Chang, graduate of Iolani School and current student at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania;
• Elise Chong, graduate of Mid-Pacific Institute and current student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa;
• Nicole Chong, graduate of Hanalani Schools and current student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa
• Geoffrey Kusaka, graduate of Punahou School and current student at the University of Southern California;
• Tiffany Lau, graduate of Punahou School and current student at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania;
• Morgan Liu, graduate of Punahou School and current student at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania;
• Hollyann Loui, graduate of Moanalua High School and current student at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
• Taryn Miyake, graduate of Punahou School and current student at Chapman University in California;
• Nicole Nakamatsu, graduate of Iolani School and current student at the University of Washington
• Cassie Tarleton, graduate of Iolani School and current student at Yale University; and
• Amanda Wasko, graduate of Kamehameha Schools - Kapālama and current student at Dominican University of California.