Thursday, January 31, 2013

National Medical Fellowships Clarifies Policy Towards Pacific Islanders, Recognizes Underrepresentation!

Just two months after announcing the Actuarial Foundation's decision to open up its underrepresented minority scholarship to Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, I am elated to share more good news: this week National Medical Fellowships Inc announced that its underrepresented minority scholarships are now open to Pacific Islanders!  They are in the process of updating their website and related application material to reflect that Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders may apply.

National Medical Fellowships Inc's decision opens up two underrepresented minority scholarships: the NMF Emergency Scholarship Fund, and the NMF Need Based Scholarship Program. Both are designed to help underrepresented minority medical students finance their studies.

The Pacific Islander Access project learned about this good news through correspondence with National Medical Fellowships Inc's CEO and President, who responded directly to us after receiving our information about Pacific Islander underrepresentation in higher education and within medical professions. We are grateful for her response, and even more appreciative that aspiring Pacific Islanders may be able to use NMF's underrepresented minority scholarships to help them become physicians and surgeons in their communities. It's important to note that NMF had already included Native Hawaiians as an underrepresented group; however, this clarification opens the door to other Pacific Islanders, in recognition of the clear data our underrepresentation.

We have said it to them personally, but we want to publicly express our thanks to the National Medical Fellowships Inc for making this important clarification. Alongside others like the HBCU and the Actuarial Foundation, they are setting a trend among underrepresented minority scholarships and fellowships.

To learn more about National Medical Fellowships Inc and their various programs, please click here: link


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Pacific Islander America: Hilo, Hawaii

Because they're related to our mission and because they don't happen enough, we try to highlight summits, conferences and other gatherings that focus on Pacific Islander higher education issues. One such conference is coming up soon, courtesy of the University of Hawaii at Hilo.  The two-day (February 8th and 9th) Pacific Islander Higher Education Conference is intended to serve as a leadership summit for educators and community leaders (day one), while day two will be a "college day" for local Pacific Islander parents and students.

For more information, here's their website:


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Pacific Islander America: education issues in Washington State

This week Washington DC (where the PIA project is based) is all abuzz with preparations for the second inauguration of President Obama.  Several of us from the PIA project will watch the swearing in, but for this week's post I want to talk about the other Washington -- Washington State.

We've done a number of posts over the years about the longstanding and fast-growing Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander community in America's Pacific Northwest. If you're looking for more information about the Pacific Islander education issues in Washington State, I'd recommend a close read of this report: Growing Presence, Emerging Voices: Pacific Islanders and Academic Achievement in Washington State

It was authored by two University of Washington-Seattle professors and their research team, in response to a request from the Washington State Legislature.


Previous "Pacific Islander America" posts on Washington State:
  • Kalama, Washington: link
  • Spokane, Washington: link
  • California and Washington State Pacific Islander education and research conferences: link

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Portland Public Schools: just seven percent of Pacific Islander student body is college ready

Like most Western states, Oregon has a much higher concentration of Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders than the nation as a whole.  The Census Bureau reports that over 25,000 Pacific Islanders live in the state; a 61 percent increase over the last ten years. (As an aside, that boost in numbers includes my sister and her five kids.)

Unfortunately, one of Oregon's largest school districts doesn't seem to be preparing its Pacific Islander students for academic success: The Oregonian reports that only seven percent of the Portland School District's Pacific Islander students are ready for college.

By comparison, 37 percent of the district's overall student population is college ready.

You can read the article here: link and the report that its based on here: link


Friday, January 04, 2013

Johns Hopkins Medical School recognizes Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander underrepresentation

Last week we noted a blog post, which pointed out that Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders are underrepresented in medical professions.  This week, we're giving Johns Hopkins a big mahalo for doing the same -- their Department of Medicine has included Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders in their definition of "underrepresented minority."

Here's the whole definition, pulled from their webpage:

Under-represented minority
Currently includes African Americans, Mexican-Americans, Native Americans (American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians), Pacific Islanders, and mainland Puerto Ricans.

And here's a link to the page so you can see it for yourself: LINK

Johns Hopkins is in good company, since other universities like Cornell, UCLA, USC, Michigan, and others recognize Pacific Islander underrepresentation.