MEDEX Kona Class 4 (2025) student Pomai Murakami was recently named a recipient of the Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship. We asked Pomai to reflect on how she came to learn about the scholarship, what it means to her to receive it, and what it will help her to achieve. Here is what she shared—we hope future Native Hawaiian MEDEX students will feel inspired to apply as well!
I first learned about this scholarship from a Kona Class 3 (2024) student. Members of Class 3 kind enough to meet with the incoming Class 4 before school began to provide us with tips on housing, studying, and scholarship opportunities. One of the Class 3 students mentioned that the Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship that was organized by Mauli Ola Mālamalama of Papa Ola Lōkahi was a great opportunity for Native Hawaiian students.
I went online to learn more about the scholarship and was inspired by the purpose of the organization. The Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program (NHHSP) addresses access to health care by developing a Native Hawaiian health care workforce of professionals committed to serve the unique needs of Hawaiian communities. The mission of this program directly aligned with my motivation to become a PA: to address health disparities for Native Hawaiians.
I feel extremely grateful to have received this scholarship. Receiving this scholarship allows me to focus all my energy on serving the Native Hawaiian community as a PA upon graduation in order to improve health outcomes in the community in which I grew up. I hope to work in primary care in underserved areas of Hawaiʻi to expand access to care, provide education, and re-establish trust between Native Hawaiians and Western medicine. I was very fortunate to grow up in Hawaiʻi and I am looking forward to giving back to the community who helped me get to where I am today!
For more information about the scholarship, including the opening date of the next application cycle, please visit https://www.papaolalokahi.org/blog/news-release-announcing-2023-cohort-of-native-hawaiian-health-scholarship-awardees