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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, June 24, 2006

Homeless welcome a healthy dose of help


There are many ways the community can help, through volunteering or donation; visit the Web site, www.hawaiihomeproject.org.

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There's no end of good things to be said about what some intrepid University of Hawai'i medical students are doing.

Faculty members have joined the students in the Hawaii Homeless Outreach and Medical Educational (H.O.M.E.) project, an inspirational response to the healthcare needs of the state's poorest residents.

It's delightful to see that, like so many of the most successful ideas, this one arose through individual initiative and was aided by happy coincidence. Medical students who had decided on homeless outreach as their required community service found they could efficiently serve this target population because Next Step, the state's Kaka'ako shelter, opened in May practically next door to the school.

Even better, the clinic is expected to go mobile soon with the city's welcome donation of a van, enabling the fledgling medics to find patients in various underserved communities.

As its leaders have pointed out, the best way to improve this service further would be to add a social-service counseling component to the outreach. Whether this expertise comes from the professional sector or from another corner of the student body, the enterprise deserves additional help.