The House Higher Education Committee passed out HB 1617 which would establish the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development at the University of Hawaii at Hilo (UHH).
The office shall serve as the overarching institutional focal point for the coordination of all undergraduate and graduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics mentorship programs, and the integration of ongoing and future research projects.
"There has been an emphasis at UHH on majors related to STEM education,” said Representative Jerry Chang, Chairman of the House Higher Education Committee. “This is an important alignment with the state's economic development initiative for an innovation-based economy."
A mission of the office shall be to build synergy between the many capacity-building and mentorship programs and support available to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. A further mission of the office shall be to increase the participation of underrepresented cultural, socio-economic, and ethnic groups from the Pacific islands in undergraduate and graduate education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
The committee also passed out HB 1369 which would establish a loan repayment program and housing stipend program for UH medical school graduates practicing in the rural areas for a minimum of six years.
"This bill would encourage doctors to remain in our rural areas to practice as newly trained in Hawaii physicians." Said Representative Chang (District 2 - Kaumana, Keaukaha, Downtown Hilo), who introduced both measures.