Hawai`i - Hawai`i County

Scott Daniels
Tel: 808-961-9460

The Big Island

Famous for the active Kilauea volcano, Hawaii’s Big Island is home to a list of fascinating anomalies.

Eleven different climate zones generate everything from lush rain forests to arid deserts, black sand beaches to snow-capped mountaintops. The Big Island is Hawaii’s biggest playground.

From the torrents of molten magma flowing from Kilauea Volcano to the snow-capped heights of Mauna Kea; from the lush green rainforests of the Hamakua Coast to the jet black sands of Punaluu Beach, Hawaii’s Big Island is an unrivaled expression of the power of nature. The dramatic size and scope of the largest Hawaiian Island create a microcosm of environments and activities. On this island’s vast tableau, you’ll find everything from extravagant resorts and astonishing golf courses to sleepy, local towns, and sacred Hawaiian historical sites.

Fun Activities

  • See molten lava flow at Kilauea volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
  • Play in the snow atop Mauna Kea, the world’s tallest mountain (measured from the ocean floor)
  • Hike through Waipio Valley, the “Valley of the Kings”
  • Explore Puukohola Heiau, the largest restored ancient Hawaiian religious temple

Basic Facts

Covering 4,028 square miles, the Big Island (or the "Orchid Isle") is the youngest and largest of the Hawaiian Islands — twice the size of all the other major Islands combined. And with two of the five volcanoes that created the island still active, it continues to grow: Kilauea Caldera is the longest continuously erupting volcano in the world, its present eruptive phase dating back to 1983; Mauna Loa, meanwhile, last erupted in March of 1984, sending lava to within a few miles of East Hawai'i's Hilo town. Of the remaining three volcanoes on the island, Mauna Kea and Kohala are extinct, while Hualalai is considered to be dormant, having last erupted in 1801.

Though the average temperature on the Big Island ranges from 71 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit in the coastal regions (with temperatures in the low 70s October through April), the summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa are often blanketed with snow.

Average annual rainfall ranges from 10 inches at Kawaihae (near the west-facing Kohala Coast) to 128 inches at the Hilo Airport.

Fifteen miles off the island's southeast coast yet another volcano, Lo'ihi, is erupting 3,000 feet below the surface of the ocean. While it will still be several thousand years before this volcano breaks the sea's surface, it has already risen more than 10,000 feet from the sea floor and has a crater that measures three miles across.

Medically Underserved Areas

Hawai'i County is by far the most underserved area in our state. Because of its vast size, low population density, and relatively high poverty rates, health care services are difficult to access. In addition, because there is little to no public transportation, transit to health care services is an issue.

The Big Island has two Critical Access Hospitals and four health centers that are eligible to recruit NHSC personnel, as well as J-1 Visa health professionals.

Hawai'i participates in the State Conrad 30 program but we do not provide direct recruitment services for J1 candidates. There are several Conrad 30 slots available, but opportunities for J1 physicians in the State of Hawai'i are very limited. Specialties are accepted.

To request a State of Hawai'i Conrad 30 waiver recommendation letter, candidates need to:
1) apply for a J-1 Visa waiver through the U.S. Department of State;
2) get a waiver review case number from U.S. Department of State;
3) secure an employment contract with a medical facility in a HPSA or Medically Underserved Area, signed by the candidate and the head of the facility, to provide patient care for at least 40 hours per week for a 3-year term;
4) send required information to Scott Daniels at the Hawai'i Dept. of Health, State Office of Rural Health.

J1 Contact Information

R. Scott Daniels, Ph.D.
Hawai`i Office of Primary Care and Rural Health
PO Box 916
Hilo, HI 96721
Phone: 808-961-9460
Fax: 808-974-6000

Scott Daniels
Hawai`i Office of Primary Care and Rural Health
PO Box 916
Hilo, HI 96721
Phone: 808-961-9460
Fax: 808-974-6000

Additional Contacts

Allison Mikuni
Tel: (808) 733-8364


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