Recruiting and Retaining Physicians

"According to a recent Workforce Assesment study published by the Univeristy of Hawai‘i, almost one-third of physicians practicing in Hawai’i are age 60 or over and could potentially leave the workforce at any time."

According to the Hawai’i Physician’s Workforce Assessment there is a 20% shortage of full-time physicians in Hawai’i. And of the 2,806 full time equivalents (FTEs) in practice statewide, 711 are age 65 or older. East Hawai’i is projected to have to worst Primary Care Physician shortage of any region in Hawai’i. It is especially difficult to recruit physicians into rural areas.


Community First has adopted multiple approaches to this challenge.

We are exploring options for keeping medical residents enrolled in the Hawai’i Island Family Medicine Residency program (HIFMR) in East Hawai’i once they have completed their studies. These physicians can help to fill the need primary care providers after forming connections in our community.

The Physician Subsidy Program provides three avenues to support new medical providers to East Hawaii.


  • Applicants can request up to $100,000 to directly support a graduating resident or physician who is new to the East Hawaii area.

  • A second subsidy program for up to two years of partial salary support is available to qualified specialists moving to East Hawaii.

  • The Hawaii AHEC (Area Health Education Center) Hawaii State Loan Repayment Program (HSLRP) is a federal grant to pay off educational loans for primary care and behavioral health providers who care for patients at non-profit organizations in designated Health Professional Shortage Areas. Support is available to leverage The County of Hawai'i's HPSA (Healthcare Provider Shortage Area) designation for Primary Care. Providers who are interested in applying for this program should download the application at the Hawaii/Pacific Basin AHEC wesbite