Training the Next Generation of Family Medicine Physicians

Last July, Hilo Medical Center and the Hilo Medical Center Foundation hosted a welcome reception for the second class of residents at the Hawaii Island Family Medicine Residency Program. This program's success is a true example of our community investing in and making healthcare a priority!

This gathering, concluding orientation week, was an opportunity to introduce our newest residents to the hospital, its Foundation and community leaders. The class of 2018 includes Dr. Will Chapple, Dr. Unity Nguyen, Dr. Karen Ann Rayos and Dr. Gaku Yamaguchi. Kahu Kimo Awai blessed the new residents and their fellow residents from the class of 2017 and their faculty.

This year’s four residents were matched to the program out of an initial total of 560 qualified applicants, bringing the total number of residents in training to eight. They join the inaugural class of residents Dr. Hamed Ahmadinia, Dr. Kaohimanu Dang Akiona, Dr. Svetlana Shchedrina and Dr. Seren Tokumura.

These physicians have been matched to one of the most dynamic three-year training programs in the country that integrates its teaching among fellow learners from The University of Hawaii at Hilo’s Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy, The University of Hawaii at Hilo’s School of Nursing, The University of Hawaii at Manoa’s School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene, and I Ola Lahui, a behavioral health training program specialized in rural communities.

The welcome reception was also an occasion to thank the many organizations and individuals for their support of the Hawaii Island Family Medicine Residency program. In addition to ongoing fundraising efforts, legislative support for the program over the years has resulted in $2 million in recurring funds in the state’s budget.    

In his welcome message to our residents, Kurt Corbin, East Hawaii Regional Board Chair, offered assurances in commitment to the program and a reminder about the heart of the matter – training new physicians in Hilo to stay and improve community health is a top priority!



Resident Class of 2017

Resident Class of 2018

Resident Class of 2019

  • Vincent Giani, MD
  • Ashley Noelani Kong, MD
  • Tereza Molfino, MD
  • Kapa'akea Charles Puaa, MD