MASH Camp – Five Years and Counting

Kona Community Hospital (KCH) celebrated its fifth-year anniversary of M.A.S.H. (Medical Academy of Science and Health) Camp on July 18 and 19 at Kona Community Hospital. Five years ago, marked the first M.A.S.H. Camp for the state of Hawaii, and now with its success, has grown to other neighbor islands. Since its inception, over 75 students have participated in KCH’s MASH Camp.

Thirteen intermediate and high school students from the local community participated in the two-day program. It covered 10 different health care careers including diagnostic imaging, laboratory, medical records, nursing, orthopedic surgery, pharmacy, rehabilitation services, and more. They were also given beneficial information about occupations in these fields such as years of education required, salary ranges, and the pros and cons about the jobs.

“We see this as a meaningful opportunity for students in our community to explore a career in health care. They are able to learn directly from our professional staff who are excited to share their knowledge and experience with the kids,” commented Jay Kreuzer, CEO of Kona Community Hospital.

“MASH Camp opened up my eyes and made me realize how strongly I wanted to be a surgeon,” said Angelica Paguyo, an upcoming senior at Konawaena High School and one of the participants in the first MASH Camp. “Yes, I know it is a difficult field but being able to participate in this program and learn more about health care has made me determined to follow this path. I feel so fortunate that I was given the opportunity to be part of this amazing program. I was in eighth-grade just thinking about what I wanted to be and now this will be my final year of high school and MASH Camp helped shape my future.”

Emily Mendez-Bryant, Community Relations Director of KCH, notes that MASH Camp helps young people consider career opportunities they might not otherwise be aware of. “This program has enabled us to foster the interest of local kids who want to pursue a career in health care. Due to the evolving healthcare industry and technology, there are so many different career opportunities for our keiki – more than ever before. And, we know there is a need for something like this because every year we have more than enough applications to fill the positions. We are excited that students enjoy it and that it can make a difference.”

One of the main highlights of M.A.S.H. Camp included the Operating Room’s presentation “The Nitty Gritty of Surgery”, that offered students a hands-on, interactive chance to perform mock surgery on an unsuspecting victim — a green bell pepper. Students wore surgery attire and utilized an endoscopy machine to extract one bell pepper seed. The kids enthusiastically took turns to carry out the surgical procedure.

After the camp, the students are asked to evaluate the program. Lauren Bart, a ninth grader at Innovations Public Charter School, wrote, “This was the best career related camp ever! I never knew there were this many jobs in the medical field. I kind of questioned being in the medical field and now I see there are so many opportunities! Thanks M.A.S.H.!” In addition, Margaret Leong-Aguon, a tenth grader at Kealakehe High School, said, “I had a great time. If there was a part two I would attend it. I learned so much and now I found some jobs that I’m interested in and hope I can go to school for.”

The program included the two-day camp, lunch and a set of scrubs. The students were also provided with a backpack full of resources. The wrap-up session on the last day included cake, along with a graduation ceremony where all the students received a certificate of completion.

M.A.S.H. Camp occurs the third week in July. For more information, please contact 322-6960 or