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Jennifer Frank

The future of family practice

Keeping Family Medicine Residency Program in good health

Like many graduates fresh out of medical school, Dr. Jennifer Frank worked as a locum physician while trying to decide what kind of practice to go into. Many medical school graduates go on to become specialists in a specific area of medicine such as cardiology or pediatrics. After careful consideration, Frank eventually decided on family medicine. This was a good decision. And now, years later, she decided to establish an endowment to support Family Medicine Residency for other young doctors just starting out.

"When you're young, you don't always know what you want to do right away," said Frank, who worked in Nepal, Egypt and Michigan before moving to Hawai'i. "I eventually chose family care, and it's been extremely rewarding for me."

After moving to Hawai'i with her husband, Frank set up her own practice and took on a position as a family physician with University Health Services at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa. Her work at UH has allowed her to collaborate with other physicians and supervise medical students from the UH Family Residency Program, many of whom are now forging their own path in the world of medicine.

"I've had several medical students rotate with me here and it's been fulfilling to be able to work with them," said Frank.

Having a personal understanding of the importance of family medicine and the need for family physicians in Hawai'i and beyond, Frank has established the Jennifer Emma Frank Endowment to support the Family Medicine Residency Program at UH Mānoa's John A. Burns School of Medicine.

"I'm very aware of the shortage of family and primary care physicians," said Frank. "So when I thought about making a gift, really the most important thing was to help address this issue in some way."

"We are extremely pleased by this ongoing gift which will allow us to continue to attract bright young doctors into primary care careers," said Allen Hixon, chair of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health.

The department and residency training program aims to address the need for primary care physicians in the state and across the Pacific through its mission of teaching, clinical care and research. There are currently 18 family medicine residents and one sports medicine fellow in fully accredited training programs.

"The practice of family medicine is based on a long-term, continuous relationship with patients," added Hixon. "And what better way to extend that continuity than an endowment that will ensure well-trained family physicians for the people of Hawai'i into the future."


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