Testimony Presented Before the
SENATE COMMITIEE ON VETERANS'AFFAIRS
Wednesday,January 11, 2006
DAV Hall, 10:00 a.m.
By T. Samuel Shomaker, MD, JD
Interim Dean, John A. Burns School of Medicine
University of Hawai'i at Manoa
"THE STATE OF VA CARE IN HAWAII"
Chairman CraIg, Senator Akaka, and members of the Committee on
Thank you for this opportunity to testify on the relationship
between the VA and the University of Hawaii's John A. Burns School of
Medicine. I am Sam Shomaker, currently servingas interimDean, and
I am accompanied by a 4th_year medical student,Haku Kahoano.
I am pleasedto report that our Medical School enjoys a very
strong relationship with the VA in Hawaii - one that is mutually
beneficial to our state's veterans and medical education programs.
Residents in Hawaii enjoy the longest average life span of any state in
the nation. For that reason, our Medical School has developed
especially strong programs in geriatric medicine.
The Hawaii VA hosts medical residents in internal medicine,
transitional, psychiatry and geriatric psychiatry programs. At any
giventime, there are about 16 medical residents and fellows serving in
VA facilities here.
Areas of active collaboration between our Medical School and VA
include dementia, movement disorders, aging, kidney disease,
epidemiology, and telemedicine. More than two dozen members of the
VA staff hold appointments as faculty of the John A. Burns School of
As Hawaii's only medical school,we beara special responsibility
to preparestudentsto meet the health needs of our residents - among
them our aging military veterans. At this time I would like to
introduce one of our students who is both a future physician and a
future veteran - Lt. Haku Kahoano isa member of the U.S. Army and
a fourth-year medical student.
TESTIMONY BY HAKU KAHOANO
4TH-YEAR STUDENT, JOHN A. BURNS SCHOOL OF MEDICINE
Chairman Craig, Senator Akaka and other Committee members,
Myname isHaku Kahoano and I am life-longresident of Hawaiias well
as a graduate of the University of Hawaii. I had the privilege of
playing on the UH footballteam from 1987 to 1991 and received an
I am on track to graduate from the John A. Burns School of Medicine
(JABSOM) next year, and I have accepted a residencyin internal
medicine at the Tripier Army Medical Center.
You've heard Dean Shomaker describe the many ways the VA helps
our Medical School fulfillits mission to create fully functional residents
and primary care physicians.
Allow me to add that there is a national health care crisison the
horizon: The reality of the baby-boomers turning 80 and the need to
create physicians who are "geriatric" savvy. As the baby-boomers
enter this demographic they can be expected to once again redefine
the needs of society. The need to create a cadre of physicians who will
be able to address Issues like (polypharmacy, loss of cognitive and
physical functIon, dementia, delirium, assisted living, long term care,
palliative management, etc.) has never been greater.
In addItion to its nationally recognized geriatric fellowship, JABSOM
now requires all 4th year students to undergo a month-long geriatric
elective. JABSOM offers thisprogram in partnership with the VA, and
provides tutelage of attending physicians with expertise in geriatrics.
Studentsgain invaluable first-hand exposure to the care of geriatric
ex-military members both in the long term care and outpatient arenas.
I am one of the fortunate members of the Class of 2006 to benefit
from this program, and I come beforeyou today to attest. to the truly
valuable lessons learned from my geriatric experience at the VA.
My 4th-yeargeriatric electIve ambulatory block (outpatient clinic) was
conductedat the VA's Spark Matsunaga Cliniclocatedon the grounds
of Tripier Army Medical Center.
Senators, thank you for giving me the opportunity to discuss the
tremendous relationship enjoyed by the VA and Hawaii's medical
school, from a medical student's perspective.
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