7 Big Island Doctors Graduate From UH John A. Burns School of Medicine

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The Big Island has produced seven new physicians who received their MD degrees on May 11, 2019, from the University of Hawai‘i John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM).

Each of them will begin their careers as physicians working under the supervision of faculty doctors in Residency Programs as they specialize in their chosen field of expertise.

Some may go on to fellowships after their residency training to satisfy further sub-specialty requirements.

Residency and fellowship training years begin every July 1, including at academic training medical centers in Hawaiʻi.

Erica Lee, MD, originally from Waimea on Hawaiʻi Island will enter the Preliminary Medicine Residency at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

EricaLee, MD. PC: Amanda Shell

Dr. Lee earned her BS in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention from the University of Southern California in 2013. She is a graduate of Punahou School. Dr. Lee was also a Narcissus Pageant Princess in 2017.



Michael Brigoli, MD, of Hilo, will train in Internal Medicine at the University of Arizona. Dr. Brigoli is an Army veteran and former paramedic who entered medical school at the age of 38, because he saw the desperate need for lifesaving physicians on Hawai‘i Island.

Michael Brigoli, MD. PC: Amanda Shell

He earned his BA in Public Administration from UH West O’ahu. Dr. Brigoli has been recognized nationally by the Association of American Medical College (AAMC) for his role as a mentor to other aspiring physicians.

A graduate of Waipahu High School, he was a firefighter before entering medical school.

Daniel Estess, MD. PC: Amanda Shell










Daniel Estess, MD, of Kailua-Kona, will train in anesthesiology at Harbor UCLA Medical Center. Dr. Estess received his BS in Molecular Cell Biology from UH Mānoa in 2015.

He is a graduate of Kealakehe High School. Dr. Estess received the Physicians’ Anesthesia Endowed Award at the recent JABSOM Convocation Awards Ceremony.

Arcelita Imasa, MD. PC: Amanda Shell






Arcelita Imasa, MD, of Hilo, will train in Family Medicine at the UH Family Medicine Residency Training Program. Dr. Imasa received her BS in Nursing from UH Hilo in 2012. Imasa is a graduate of CCSP Lab High School (Philippines).

Dr. Imasa also received the Dr. Volt H. Tom Excellence in Geriatric Medicine Award at the recent JABSOM Convocation Awards Ceremony.

Charles Peebles receives a lei from his wife at the JABSOM Convocation Ceremony. PC: DMD




Charles Peebles, MD, of Kealakekua, will train in general surgery at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine.

Dr. Peebles earned his BA in Legal Studies in 2000 from UC Santa Cruz, and an MM in Jazz Studies from the University of North Texas in 2007.

He was a professional jazz saxophone player and a music teacher before entering medical school. Dr. Peebles is a graduate of Konawaena High School.

Gene Yoshikawa, MD. Courtesy photo.

Gene Yoshikawa, MD, of Hilo, will train in the University of Hawai‘i Internal Medicine Residency Program. He earned his BA in Japanese in 2012 from the University of Oregon, and a BS in Biology in 2014 from UH Mānoa.

He is a graduate of Hilo High School. During medical school, he co-authored a paper on a study related to Alzheimer’s Disease, that was mentioned in the Journal of Neurochemistry.

Dr. Yoshikawa received the E.E. Black Community Service Award at the JABSOM Convocation Awards Ceremony.

Laylah Zelko, MD. Courtesy photo.



Laylah Zelko, MD, of Kona, will train in General Surgery in the Riverside University Health System in Moreno Valley, California.

She earned her BA in Biology from Mills College in 2015. She is a graduate of Kealakehe High School.


About Residency Training

In addition to expanding the MD class size, which has increased from 62 to 75 under his tenure, JABSOM Dean Jerris Hedges believes expansion of graduate medical education in Hawaiʻi is a critically important part of addressing our state medical doctor shortage.

More than 80% of MDs who graduate from JABSOM and train in UH Residency Programs stay to practice in the Islands, the highest retention rate among medical schools in the United States.

The John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) sponsors 18 accredited graduate medical education programs, training about 220 physicians annually in residency and fellowship programs which last between three to seven years. Under faculty supervision the MDs work at our academic medical centers, providing needed health care while also gaining experience that will prepare them for licensure and board certification.

The UH Residency Programs include the specialties of Family Medicine, Sports Medicine, Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Geriatric Medicine, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Orthopedic Surgery, Pathology, Pediatrics, Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, General Psychiatry, Addiction Medicine, Addiction Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Geriatric Psychiatry, General Surgery and Surgical Critical Care.

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