John A. Burns School of Medicine
Dr. Jill Omori of the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) has been recognized as the recipient of the 2017-18 Robert W. Clopton Award for Distinguished Community Service. Her life- long commitment as a professor and as a physician demonstrates a deep and sustained commitment to education and a unique regard for our island communities that respect her as a valued member of their community. As such, Dr. Omori sets a distinguished standard and defines a path towards an integration of academic and local community. A colleague regards her thus: “Dr. Omori has combined her talents as a physician with her deep concern for social disparities to provide countless hours of service to the homeless population here on O’ahu. Her work has been both life-changing for her patients and inspiring to her peers.” Deeply integrated with Dr. Omori’s teaching and research at Mānoa, her service to the homeless has had significant and profound impact upon the lives of many thousands in our island communities through the generative and continued role of developing, implementing, and sustaining since 2005 the Homeless Outreach and Medical Education (H.O.M.E.) project. This project demonstrates a core element to her community service from which emanates her extensive influence in the welfare of our community. From the immediate perspectives of homeless community members, her contributions have enabled them to feel human and empowered. A response to the effects of Dr. Jill Omori’s direct presence in their lives is expressed as, “She parked the H.O.M.E. Project Van behind our tent and delivered medical care to us. She was so encouraging. Just by taking time to talk to us, she made us feel like human beings,” and “My daughter calls her aunty,” and “We were homeless. Through selfless acts of kindness, Dr. Omori gave our family hope at a time when we were losing hope fast.” Weekly clinics overseen by physicians and operated by students expands the influence of Dr. Omori’s work from the immediate and into the future, by inspiring and orienting future physicians to their own futures in service to our island communities. She leads by example, inspiring many students and professionals to commit to sustained engagement in service to their communities and in so doing, discovering and becoming their own best selves. In the words of one student, “Dr. Omori is a shining example of a compassionate and humble physician, teacher, and human being. When you are around her, you can feel her positive energy and feel inspired. If I can accomplish at least half of what she has done in my lifetime, I feel I would have done something meaningful.” The legacy of Dr. Jill Omori is in having created in others a kind of alchemy, transforming others’ own efforts and commitments into a gold standard.
Department of Family Medicine and Community Health