Cultural Resources for Health Professionals

Family Medicine and Community Health

The mission of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health is to provide training for its students and residents to become skilled primary care physicians who provide high quality, culturally-relevant and cost-effective care to Hawai`i’s diverse population. The Department has an active research and health policy agenda with indigenous peoples of the Pacific, increasing the quality of health care to disenfranchised and Medicare populations in Hawai`i, and cancer and chronic disease prevention in the US Affiliated Pacific. Students and residents have numerous opportunities to participate in research and primary care quality improvement projects.

  • Dr. Gregory Maskarinec, former DFMCH faculty member, and now Director of the Global and International Health, facilitates a cultural immersion class for the incoming family medicine residents. This class includes activities in the lo’i (taro patch) to experience Native Hawaiian cultural practices.
  • Dr. Jill Omori teaches the Culture and Medicine session to the third year medical students.
  • Dr. Seiji Yamada teaches the Topics in Community Health session to third year medical students.
  • In 2017 and 2018, family medicine medical students joined Dr. Seiji Yamada in a mass screening and treatment program for tuberculosis in Ebeye and Majuro in the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
  • In 2017, Dr. Neal Palafox sailed on the closing leg of the Malama Honua Voyage from Tahiti to Hawai’i as the medical officer. Based on this 24 day open ocean experience with only traditional sailing methods, and in context of the Polynesian Voyaging Society values / mission, Dr. Palafox spoke to medical residents about the voyage and how identity, culture, tradition, ancestry, physical activity, nutrition, policy, and globalization, all weigh on the health of the Pacific.
  • As part of the global health/medicine outreach at JABSOM, in 2014 and 2016, Dr. Neal Palafox traveled to Okinawa and Tokyo, Japan to lecture and perform medical rounds with primary care physicians, residents and medical students. It was an opportunity to teach residents across cultures and discuss how Pacific culture interfaces with nuclear disaster, and how learning and teaching in cross-cultural setting is invaluable.
  •  In 2013 and 2014, Dr. Seiji Yamada volunteered his medical services with ‘Ohana Medical Missions to help the people in the Philippines affected by Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda

Selected Publications

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