Hilo News — State Administration To Offer $140K To Hilo Medical Center Rural Residency Program

(Media release) — At 2 p.m., Thursday, July 1, 2010, Lt. Governor James R. “Duke” Aiona, Jr., will present a check in the amount of $140,000.00 to the John A. Burns School of Medicine Hilo Medical Center Rural Residency Program.

Lt. Governor Aiona will present the check to members of the Hilo Medical Center Foundation, the Rural Residency Program and Hilo Medical Center Regional Board at the Rural Residency Program Office (the site of Hawaii Island Family Health Center) at 45 Mohouli Street in Hilo.

“Our administration has been aware of the acute shortage of doctors in East Hawaii,” Aiona said. “The East Hawaii community has banded together to support the Rural Residency Program and I’m privileged and honored to be able contribute the State’s share to support this much-needed program. Despite our State’s financial troubles, our Administration has taken the necessary steps to make sure this worthwhile program is funded.” noted the Lt. Governor.

The Lt. Governor will give brief remarks. Invited to speakers may include:

  • Lori Rodgers, Executive Director, Hilo Medical Center Foundation
  • Julie Tulang, Vice President of the Hilo Medical Center Foundation
  • Brian Iwata, East Hawaii Regional Board, Finance Chair
  • Dr. Luci Bucci
  • Boyd Murayama, Medical Group Program Director
  • Dr. Linda Dolan, Hilo Medical Center.

Contact Marc Miranda, Governor’s Liasion, (808) 371-6739 or Ted Hong at (808) 960-3156.

(Submitted by Ted Hong.)

7 replies
  1. Tiffany Edwards Hunt
    Tiffany Edwards Hunt says:

    This came in a few hours after I drafted a heartfelt letter to Hilo Medical Center, which I’m going to share with you in hopes of actually getting somewhere with my very personal movement.

    Before I get to that, let me just remind you that I have been consistently supportive of the Hilo Residency Program. I have written about this before.

    (See “Gov Shikea’s $1,000 Donation To the Hilo Residency Program published Aug. 1, 2009… http://www.bigislandchronicle.com/?p=7453

    and see “In The Midst of A Health Care Crisis, Governor Lingle Not To Release $2.5 ML for Rural Residency Program on Dec. 21, 2008… http://www.bigislandchronicle.com/?p=307)

    I want to see better health care on our island, in our state. I want better health care for myself and my family.

    You’ll understand why in a minute, but I just really have to speak my heart right now and tell you that it bothers me greatly that the few ob-gyns that we have in Hilo are preventing a midwifery assistance program from being established at Hilo Medical Center.

    I really don’t want to drive to Waimea to give birth again! It interrupted my flow during labor to make that trek. I feel like my labor would not have gone on so long if I wouldn’t have interrupted it with such a long and arduous trek.

    It is just totally pathetic that I have to leave the district of Puna and bypass the hospital in Hilo because I CHOOSE to have a midwife and not an ob-gyn assist me for MY CHILD’S NATURAL CHILD BIRTH.

    I’m over it, and I’m speaking out about it, and I’m going to go to this little grin-and-grab tomorrow and I’m going to chew hard on people’s ears, and I’m going to bring my child and my whole squad of teenagers that I’m mentoring in the youth news service program, and I’m going to write about what all those people listed above tell me, and I’m going to have the teenagers write about what all those people listed above tell me. We may even video the interviews that I have with these people.

    “June 30, 2010

    To whom this may concern:

    I am writing to inquire when is the next Hilo Medical Center board of directors’ meeting. I would like to testify.

    My interest in testifying is, I am approximately eight weeks pregnant with my second child and I want to understand both personally and as a professional writer in our community why Hilo Medical Center does not allow midwife-assisted births.

    I am a Puna resident and I intend to raise my children here. As you can imagine, without a hospital or birth center in this district, my only option for giving birth in the place I intend to raise my child is to have a home birth.

    To be frank, having had my first child, I now understand that I can give birth anywhere and I’m actually entertaining the home-birth option.

    For my first child, I had all my prenatal care and my child’s birth at the North Hawaii Women’s Center. Along with a home birth, I am also considering the Waimea option again for baby no. 2.

    But, honestly, the trek to Waimea is long and arduous, for prenatal care and then once I go into labor.

    I just cannot understand, what is Hilo Medical Center’s policy against midwife-assisted births?

    I’ve got to tell you, I know many of the baby nurses at Hilo Medical Center; I’ve paddled canoe with a couple of them, and I socialize with a few others. They are perfectly capable and I would love to have them assist me, along with the assistance of a midwife.

    I’m sorry, I really don’t have any interest in seeking out an ob-gyn.

    You should know that Hilo is reputed to have a disturbing cesarean rate. There is just absolutely no way I want a cesarean.

    I also observe way too many women who give birth at Hilo Medical Center who end up bottle-feeding their babies, either because of cesarean or a philosophy encouraged by their family and their ob-gyns.

    This is totally contrary to my philosophy of breastfeeding and attachment parenting. I feel like the North Hawaii Women’s Center is much more embracing of concepts like attachment parenting and encouraging of natural child birth and breastfeeding.

    So, being eight weeks pregnant, I’m not interested in warring with anyone. My desire is to tell my story to the Hilo Medical Center board of directors in hopes of being able to affect positive change.

    This being our second baby means this will probably be the last time I am pregnant.

    I really wish that I could give birth close to home. I wish, I really wish, I could affect change soon enough to have my baby in Hilo. I’m realistic. I’m making alternative plans, but I am holding some optimism that I can actually make a difference. If I can’t affect change in time for my second child’s birth, maybe I can affect change for a woman down the road who is going to be in a similar predicament* as me.

    Please, hear me out. Don’t blow me off. I have donated to Hilo Medical Center foundation. I actually represent a huge community of women that totally reject the idea of giving birth in Hilo. I really wish you could see that it is not in the best interest of East Hawaii to be so opposed to such an ancient concept: midwifery.

    Mahalo for hearing me out.

    Tiffany Edwards Hunt
    (808) 938-8592”

    *To think, it has to be a predicament, my husband and I deciding where I am going to give birth…

    Incidentally, beyond the Hilo Medical Center embracing midwifery, I would ultimately, ultimately, ultimately like to see Puna have a birth center. I will gladly work with anyone who wants to work toward a birth center in Hilo and/or Puna.

    It doesn’t take much, really.

    Just think, through the power of the people, we now have a Puna Community Medical Center… and we now have a Hilo Residency Program.

    … All it takes is will.

    I’m pretty willful and determined to give natural childbirth with the assistance of a midwife.

  2. Dave Smith
    Dave Smith says:

    Congratulations Tiff! Good luck on getting the midwife program established, too. Looks like you’ve got a different kind of deadline on that.

  3. Dave Smith
    Dave Smith says:

    And thanks for reminding us about Lingle’s refusal to release the funding for the rural residency program in 2008, which forced a community scramble to find seed money.

    Funny, that info seems missing from the press release.

    In fact, one has to read down to the third paragraph to see that it’s state money that’s involved. At first glance it appears that Duke had written the check himself.

  4. Boots
    Boots says:

    Who is more shameless–Linda & Duke or the editors at the HT-H, “Originally, the state Legislature had earmarked about $2 million for the local program, but the budget crunch had effectively frozen those funds.

    Also, the press release and HT-H article don’t mention the $500k a year that one-time $140k will bring in.

    Maybe Ted or Marc can enlighten us on this issue?

  5. James Weatherford
    James Weatherford says:

    Congratulations Tiff and Jeff!

    Midwives, home birth, breastfeeding.
    This is gawd-awful basic.
    Hello?!! Get with reality, Hilo medical profession.
    As the father of home-birthed and breastfed children, and assistant to the midwife (more than 20 years ago), I support you 100%, Tiff.
    Can we help?

  6. Deluxe
    Deluxe says:


    It’s pretty simple, the entire community comes together and says this important to us, and begins working to make it happen. Irregardless if the funds are there from the State, our Hilo / Big Island community bands together and finds a way. Funds come from a number of different people and then we get a deal from Tri-West who say we will pony up around 5 million dollars over X amount of years for this program if you put down 70 K this year and 70 K next year… So its a no brainer at this point we put down 140,000 to turn into 5 million (is what I learned yesterday in speaking with finance chair of the HMC board) instead of putting down 2.5 from the State.

    If you look at it logically this seems to be a better way to spend “OUR” money rather than just giving it away because our Legislature says we have do so. I don’t quite understand your point in fact it only helps further the point that “Linda and Duke” did the right thing rather than the easy thing.

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