On Feb. 22, the Hilo Medical Center Foundation hosted a breakfast gathering at the River Cottage to update community physicians on the Hawaii Health Systems Corp. Primary Care Training Program, formerly known as the Hilo Residency Program. The River Cottage is located at the top of the HMC campus along the Wailuku River.
The breakfast gathering provided an opportunity for the foundation to update the community physicians on HB 417, legislation relating to funding the residency program, and garner further support as the bill made its way from the State House to the Senate. The foundation and hospital officials had started their efforts to educate Hawaii Island legislators, community members and local businesses last November and expanded their reach to the other islands.
This gathering also served as a reminder to the community physicians about the heart of the matter – training new physicians in Hilo to stay and improve community health. The foundation has been a staunch supporter of the program since 2006. In early 2011, the foundation set the goal of providing free, on-campus housing for physicians doing their residency training in Hilo as a key selling point in the strategy to encourage new physicians to grow roots in Hilo.
For many years, the River Cottage had been used to house visiting residents and was in need of serious repair, needing a new roof, new paint job and new furnishings. The foundation spent most of 2011 rallying local businesses and community members to contribute funds, elbow grease and building materials to spruce up the cottage. In the spring of 2012, the foundation and all the contributors celebrated the grand opening of the River Cottage. Since then, all four rooms of the cottage have been filled with residents rotating from University of Hawaii at Manoa’s John A. Burns School of Medicine and Creighton University.
The Hilo Medical Center is still accepting donations for this program. Please visit www.hilomedicalcenterfoundation.org or call 935-2957.