Hawaii Pacific Health Accepting Applications for 2022-2023 Medical Assistant Program

Unique opportunity prepares high school seniors for a career in the health care field 02/10/2022

Group of five high school students training as medical assistants

Hawaii Pacific Health is accepting applications for its 2022-2023 Medical Assistant Program, a unique opportunity that gives high school seniors a hands-on introduction to a career in the health care field. Applications are due by Friday, March 4, at noon.

Held in partnership with the Hawaii Department of Education, Hawaii Pacific Health’s groundbreaking education and training program prepares high school students for a career as a medical assistant through a combination of in-classroom instruction and clinical experience.

“We see that about 50% of high school students in Hawaii are not choosing to go on to higher education,” said Carl Hinson, director of workforce development for Hawaii Pacific Health. “These students need to have different types of skills made available to them in high school so that when they graduate, they can enter right into the workforce. We're giving these students the opportunity to gain these skills so that they can help their families and step into a living-wage job. It’s an important part of our mission of creating a healthier Hawaii because it's not just about the health care we provide, but it's also about the career, social and spiritual health of our community.”

The program consists of two semesters of coursework and 225 hours of clinical externships. Designed to mimic real-world scenarios, coursework includes anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, administrative medical assisting and clinical medical assisting, among other skills.

Classes are taught by experienced health care professionals on two campuses — Farrington High School and Waipahu High School — during weekdays to accommodate students’ schedules. Labs are conducted Saturdays at Straub Medical Center clinics in Pearlridge and Kapolei.

Upon completion of the program and achievement of national certification, students are given primary consideration for employment at a Hawaii Pacific Health facility, which includes Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children, Pali Momi Medical Center and Straub Medical Center on Oahu, and Wilcox Medical Center and Kauai Medical Clinic on Kauai.

Since its inception in 2018, the program has graduated 71 students, with 100% of participants obtaining their national certification on their first attempt.

“Programs like this can be so valuable as students receive training in a career field and then can enter the workforce to help fill the gaps,” said Eunice Fukunaga, assistant vice principal of Waipahu High School’s Academy of Health & Science, which was a key partner in establishing and growing the Medical Assistant Program. “Many students can’t afford post-high school education right after high school. Giving them an opportunity to earn an industry certification and employment can be life-changing, and has been for many of our students. This also allows them to get valuable career experience, as many go on to pursue higher degrees in the health care field.”

Students interested in applying for the 2022-2023 Hawaii Pacific Health Medical Assistant Program are encouraged to visit their school counselor to find out what education requirements are needed. Applications are available online at HawaiiPacificHealth.org/MedicalAssistantProgram. Search for “Student Medical Assistant” or “Job ID #18091.” Applications must be submitted by Friday, March 4, at noon.

For more information about the program or application process, students and families may contact Shanyn Chung at Shanyn.Chung@HawaiiPacificHealth.org and Mae Dorado at Mae.Dorado@HawaiiPacificHealth.org.

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Liz Chun Uyehara