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Welcome to Our Summer Interns

 Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Everyone at AHECSW would like to introduce our two summer interns: Cody and Emily. They will be helping us for the next four weeks with the High School Healthcare Exposure Camp and the Middle School Healthcare Exploration Camp. There are brief bios of our summer interns below. This year our summer camps will dive into the five senses: vision, touch, hearing, smell, and taste. We will have fun playing with our taste buds, going through obstacle courses with inverted vision googles, and confusing our senses. The high school campers will spend the last three days of camp at Camp Kellogg, where they will learn about wilderness first aid and safety. Stay tuned for our next blog on how all the camps went.

Cody Early is a Roseburg-native who is currently attending George Fox University and pursing a Bachelor’s of Science degree in biology. He is interested in working as a medical lab scientists or an optometrist. His favorite movies are Shawshank Redemption and any Star Was movie, and his favorite musical artists are Green Day and Florida Georgia Line. In his free time, he enjoys basketball, golf, camping, hiking, and chatting with friends and family. When asked what he enjoys most about this summer intern position, Cody said “I hope to help students in my community nurture their passion for healthcare just like so many mentors have done for me. I also look forward to having lots of fun along the way.”




 Emily Swanson is also a Roseburg native who is currently attending Oregon State University and pursing a Bachelor’s of Science degree in biology. Emily has worked with our camps before. She is interested in working as a primary care physician or a pediatrician. Her favorite movie is Beauty and the Beast, and her favorite musical artist is Bruno Mars. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends, baking, playing the saxophone, hiking, and spending time outdoors. When asked what she enjoys about the summer intern position, Emily said, “I had a blast last year helping run the camps and seeing the students get excited about medicine. I am looking forward to connecting with more students and continuing to share my interest in the medical field with them. I hope that I care encourage these students to pursue what they are passionate about. I am excited to be able to give back to my community while doing something I love!”

**If any middle school or high school students are interested in attending these free summer camps that start next week, visit this site ( and register your students. We still have several spots open!! **


Another Year of Bright Works Oregon Complete

 Monday, June 26, 2017

      As the school year winds down to a close, Bright Works Oregon (BWO) has seen a whirlwind of activity. To give back to the community, the BWO chapters worked together to create service projects. The Sutherlin chapter joined the Roseburg chapter in showing their appreciation to Battered Persons’ Advocacy by bringing in a massage therapist and thank you mugs. The South Umpqua girls hosted a Girls’ Empowerment Day for the girls of Coffenberry Middle School; this event included a yoga session and a healthy picnic.

      The UCC Paramedics program hosted BWO for an EMS day. The medical examiner from the Sheriff’s office started off the day by taking the students through the steps of a death investigation. Then Douglas County Fire District #2 showed the students how they perform a vehicular extrication in the field, which includes using the jaws of life to take apart a car and rescue a car crash victim. At the end of the day, the paramedic students showed the BWO students how to intubate patients, insert IVs, and everything in between.













      During the last week of May, BWO was able to spend the day in Portland visiting the SIM lab at OHSU. The students practiced their CPR chest compressions, explored the manikin used in the simulation operating room, and delivered a baby with a mother manikin. As a treat, we visited Powell’s City of Books to browse the largest independent bookstore in the world, and we ate a delicious dinner at Henry’s Tavern American Grill.

















         For the final day with the BWO students, we all headed to Winchester Bay for a day on the beach. We made drift wood forts, touched sea anemones, made sand castles, and ate good food.














       With the help of Nalani Wakinekona, our AmeriCorps member, the Bright Works Oregon program was able to reach more students than ever before. This year’s program included students from over 4 schools in Douglas County. We had an amazing groups of students, and they were a large part of the program’s success.


Reconnect Scribes Teach Case Studies to Douglas County Youth

 Friday, April 28, 2017


Reconnect Scribes Teach Case Studies to Douglas County Youth

The Area Health Education Center of Southwest Oregon (AHECSW) is approaching one year since the launch of our newest educational program, Reconnect Scribes. This program is designed for post-graduate students who plan to take a gap year between undergraduate school and entrance into higher-level medical programs. In this unique model, gap-year students are employed full-time as medical scribes in a clinical setting while simultaneously gaining patient contact hours and applying to advanced degree programs, such as Medical, Nurse Practitioner, or Physician Assistant school.

Current Reconnect Scribes are all placed at the Umpqua Community Health Center. They have had the opportunity to scribe for Family Practice Doctors, Women’s Health, and also for clinic Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants. Most of the scribes have had the opportunity to work with multiple providers throughout their experience, as the clinic uses them in flexible ways to accommodate the needs of provider and patient schedules.

In addition to the hours worked as a medical scribe, the Reconnect Scribe program also has a teaching and education component that combines both the Reconnect Scribe program and the Bright Works Oregon (BWO) after-school program. The scribes were given medical school case studies authored by Doctors and Professors from OHSU; the topics of these case studies ranged from diabetes to COPD and other respiratory diseases. With the help of AHECSW staff and several outside resources, each scribe developed his or her own case study into four teachable lesson plans that would be presented at separate BWO chapter sites.

Lucas Short presented a case study on Optometry and Ophthalmology to the Phoenix Charter School BWO. Audrey Taylor presented a case study centered around Diabetes to the South Umpqua High School BWO and Jaide Farr presented a case study on Respiratory Diseases to the Sutherlin High School BWO. Due to there being only three BWO sites, one scribe worked with the Umpqua Community College (UCC) EMT Program to teach his case study. Michael Graham was given the opportunity to present a case study centered on renal diseases to the UCC Paramedic students. Each scribe met with the students for two hours a week over four weeks, and each week was a different activity or lesson related to the case study topic. These case study units included dissections, labs, and presentations from local healthcare professionals. For example, Lucas included a cow eyeball dissection and a presentation from a local optometrist, Dr. Greg Valle. Audrey invited a registered nurse with Type II diabetes to speak to the students at South Umpqua High School and lead the students through a blood sugar activity. Jaide encouraged her students to examine the ways in which tobacco companies advertise the perceived benefits of smoking and mask or ignore the serious health consequences of smoking. Michael arranged a trip to a dialysis lab to give the UCC students an off-campus learning experience in the field. Each case study was different and every scribe put their own experience and personality into their teaching methods.

                                            Scribe Lucas Short helps lead a dissection activity with Phoenix School/Roseburg High School Students.  

This component of the Reconnect Scribe program pushed the scribes out of their comfort zone. Firstly, developing the case studies forced the scribes to transform complicated medical language into teachable and understandable medical information, which is something that these scribes will have to do with their future patients. Secondly, the scribes had to learn how to command a classroom, keep the students engaged, and maintain a lesson plan for two hours. Lastly, the scribes had to simply relate to the students, listen to the students, and have a good time. Ultimately, the scribes learned more about themselves and the population that they will be serving in the future.

In it’s first year, the program has been a resounding success. AHECSW has used an evaluation process throughout the pilot to seek feedback and information on the success of the program. Patients, clinic staff, providers, and the scribes themselves have all indicated that the experience has been incredibly positive. We are constantly evaluating what we are doing and seeking ways to improve the program and make it scalable to other regions and clinics.

In March, AHECSW launched promotions for the next cohort of Reconnect Scribes, who will begin their experience in the summer of 2017. We promoted the program at every Oregon college and university by reaching out through Pre-Health Academic Advisors and Professors. Our number of applicants in the second year was over four times the number of applicants from 2016. We are currently selecting applicants for interviews and will be making final selections in mid-May. In addition to continuing our partnership with the Umpqua Community Health Center, our goal is to expand to new clinics and locations in Douglas County in the year to come.


Looking for a Summer Student Intern to help with Summer Camps

 Monday, April 10, 2017

AHECSW Summer Student Intern Position Description

Position Title:   AHECSW Summer Student Intern

Project Host site:  AHESW

AHECSW Mission:   “improve the health of people in southwest Oregon”

Project Location:   Douglas County

Position Hours:   30 hours per week Start date of July 10 through August 2.

Position Summary:   Area Health Education Center (AHECSW) of Southwest Oregon works with the Oregon Health & Sciences University (OHSU) to solve critical issues of health access in rural areas through health career promotion, health careers training, health professionals training and support. One way we do this is offering summer camps to the youth of Douglas county introducing them to health careers. This position will serve in a mentorship role and serve as a camp counselor.

Essential Responsibilities:

  • Assist in the daily running of camps
  • Provide team building activities for youth
  • Serve as a camp counselor
  • Assist with AHECSW programs/field trips – chaperone on student field trips

Marginal Responsibilities:

  • Assist with data collection and program evaluation
  • Clerical duties, including filing and entering information into a database
  • Participate in AHECSW staff and board meetings are required

Position Requirements:

  • Pre-health students currently enrolled in a 2- year or 4-year degree post-secondary degree program.
  • Creative, tactical, and analytical thinker. Motivational leader for youth that thinks outside of the box to engage youth in non-school setting with excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to work independently as well as function successfully in collaborative team environment.
  • Strong organizational skills, ability to handle multiple tasks, and independently prioritize and track deadlines.
  • Willing to work flexible hours to meet programmatic needs-One weekend applies.
  • Excellent follow-through and persistence when corresponding with students, families, educators, and healthcare professionals.
  • Ability to work effectively with diverse organizations and persons.
  • Able to travel extensively throughout Douglas County. Must have a clean driving record and ability to pass a background check with no DUI convictions. Must be willing to travel regularly to AHECSW region communities this project serves.
  • Utilizes general office skills.
  • Operates programs within budgetary parameters and is frugal with AHECSW expenditures.
  • U.S. citizen, national or lawful permanent resident.
  • Possession of a high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Must be 20 years or older to apply.
  • Regular and reliable attendance.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience with community based programs.
  • Strong verbal/written communication skills.
  • Experience working with youth.

Service Conditions:

  • Extensive travel throughout the Douglas County region.

Physical/Intellectual Demands:

  • Demonstrated skills and knowledge of Microsoft-based computer programs.
  • Ability to learn and apply basic computer skills including locating and operating documents, completing forms, opening and sending messages.
  • Must be able to stoop, bend, reach, and occasionally lift 25 pounds or more.
  • Frequent oral communication in person and by telephone required.

Equipment Used:

  • Laptop computer with internet access
  • Copy Machine
  • Fax Machine

Benefits Include:  Not available for part-time employees. Pay is $14.00 dollars an hour

Transportation Information:  Personal vehicle is recommended for travel to program sites. AHECSW will reimburse mileage at the organization’s going rate.

How to Apply:  Please submit a cover letter that addresses your interest in the position, rural medicine, community health, and community service. A resume that highlights your past work experiences and qualifications with at least three references. Applications should be submitted to:

Apply before April 28, 2017!

Murder at the Winery | Buy Tickets Now!

 Wednesday, January 04, 2017



Purchase TICKETS and DONATE using this link:

       Deep within the misty green hills of central Italy lays a small winery called Girato nel Buio. As you step into the Phoenix Charter School, you will be transported to this very winery as it celebrates the revealing of it’s limited-edition vintage bottles. Minutes into the night a gruesome murder is announced, and the murder mystery begins. While you enjoy local wine and an authentic Italian meal prepared by Dino’s Ristorante and the Phoenix Culinary Arts Program, you will work with the other guests to solve the mystery and reveal the killer. As a guest, you can either be a sleuth or a suspect. The sleuth questions other guests to build a case, piece together the mystery, and identify the killer. This is your chance to use your best good cop/bag cop strategy. The suspect, on the other hand, is an actual character who could have committed the murder. You might be the infamous wine critic, the American tourist, or a fiery Italian lover. As the suspect, this is your chance to practice your best poker face and evade suspicion. Prior to the event all suspects will receive a short character guide describing their character as well as their character’s motive, means, and opportunity to kill.

       From the moment you step into the winery, your life in Oregon will be forgotten as you sip on delicious wine, taste fine Italian cuisine, and immerse yourself in this mystery. You’ll be following your intuition, chasing a lead, and accusing a suspect before dessert is even served. You may even discover that you have a knack for detective work or life as a criminal. Regardless of your role in the evening, I can promise you that this will be a night you won’t want to forget. So step out from the dreary February rain and into the Tuscan sun. Italy awaits you.

       This fundraiser is a collaboration between the Area Health Education Center of Southwest Oregon (AHECSW), The Phoenix Charter School, and Dino's Ristorante. The event is directly supporting the Bright Works Oregon after school program (BWO), which is only one of the educational programs overseen by AHECSW. BWO provides students with the skills, experiences, and opportunities they need to pursue higher education and a career in the healthcare industry. There are BWO chapters at Sutherlin High School, Phoenix Charter School, and South Umpqua High School. To enhance these students’ experiences, the AHECSW staff take our students on a spring break trip. In the past, the students have visited Portland to view a live knee replacement surgery and visit a cadaver lab. Everyone at AHECSW hopes that this fundraiser will help every student in Bright Works Oregon attend the spring break trip this year. If you have any questions about the murder mystery, BWO, or AHECSW, please email Nalani at



Murder Mystery Fundraiser Coming Soon

 Thursday, December 08, 2016



Save the date for “Murder at the Winery,” an interactive dinner and fundraising event taking place at Phoenix Charter School in Roseburg on Saturday, February 4th. Watch for more information regarding tickets sales and how to contribute to the event. This will be a night you won't want to miss. 

Oregon Graduate Medical Education Consortium Offering Planning Grants to Assist With Creating Residency Programs

 Wednesday, November 02, 2016

The Oregon Graduate Medical Education Consortium (OGMEC) is a group of hospitals, physician groups, health systems and medical schools with the mission of creating primary care residency programs in Oregon hospitals and other institutions outside of the Portland Metro area. This mission is in response to the growing shortage of primary care physicians in rural and underserved parts of the state. For the purposes of this RFP, eligible primary care specialties include family medicine, internal medicine, general surgery, pediatrics, OB-GYN and psychiatry.

Studies show that physicians who complete their medical school and residency program in one state are up to 60% more likely to stay in that state to build a practice. Furthermore, evidence is building, in Oregon and in other states, proving that physicians completing significant amounts of time during their residencies in rural locations are much more likely to practice in rural areas.

However, developing a residency program is expensive, and requires capacity and desire to become a teaching hospital or health center. OGMEC members have agreed to share the work of creating residency programs, guide funding distribution and provide technical assistance to help organizations overcome barriers to creating residency programs. To assist organizations with this development, OGMEC is offering planning grants of $250,000 and $100,000 to qualified hospitals and health centers intending to create primary care residency programs or family medicine Rural Training Tracks.

To learn more about these grants, please go to the OGMEC website.

Future Pre-Med Students Gain Valuable Experience as Medical Scribes

 Tuesday, October 25, 2016


Left Photo: Lucas Short charts information as Dr. Laurance Choate examines mock-patient Whitney Carnahan, an employee of Umpqua Community Health Center

An Innovative Program: ReConnect Scribes

In June 2016, the Area Health Education Center of Southwest Oregon (AHECSW) launched a new program called ReConnect Scribes. This unique, 14 month program is aimed at college graduates who have completed a bachelor’s degree, but are in their “gap year” between undergraduate school and higher level healthcare programs, such as medical school, physician assistant school, or nurse practitioner school. Our program places college graduates in medical scribe positions in our community. A medical scribe is a person who does all charting during physician-patient appointments in real time, as physicians are treating their patients. This is a great advantage to a physician, as it saves them from having copious amounts of charting to complete after seeing patients all day. Currently, our scribes are working full-time for the physicians at the Umpqua Community Health Center (UCHC).

While recruiting and interviewing candidates for this program, AHECSW focused on students who have a desire to work in rural healthcare settings with an underserved population. The goal is that students who participate in this program return to underserved areas to practice upon completion of their advanced medical degrees. Once scribes were hired, AHECSW provided Scribe training for them through a specialized training program called Scribe University. This allowed scribes to be as prepared as possible as they began their new positions at UCHC. Scribes began working at UCHC in June of this year and will work through July of 2017.

In addition to working full-time at the clinic, scribes are dedicating several hours a week in support of our Bright Works Oregon after-school program for high school students. Currently, scribes are working on developing case studies or “mock patient” scenarios that will be used in our Bright Works curriculum later this year. Scribes will also attend Bright Works chapter meetings and interact with high school students on case studies and college preparation activities. 

Audrey Taylor prepares labwork in-between appointmentsRight Photo: Audrey Taylor prepares lab-work in between seeing patients

Each of the scribes are currently preparing to attend advanced medical programs. Michael Graham, a graduate of Oregon State University, is preparing for Physician Assistant (PA) school. Michael aspires to begin a PA program next summer and has interviews at Oregon Health & Science University and Pacific University. Scribes Audrey Taylor and Jaide Farr are both making headway in their preparations for medical school by taking the Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT. Audrey completed her first attempt at the MCAT in September and Jaide will be taking the test in January 2017. Our fourth scribe, Lucas Short is currently considering which medical schools he will apply to and hopes to stay on the west coast for medical school.

Thus far, the program has been a resounding success for both the scribe students, as well as the physicians at UCHC. Dr. Chip Taylor, a family physician at UCHC, says “Having a scribe in the exam room changes the entire encounter in a very positive manner. After 20 years of typing in the exam room I can now return to the days when I sat close to the patient with my hands in my lap and my eyes focused on them attending to their concerns with undivided attention… at the end of the day, my notes are mostly done and I have less paperwork. The fact that the scribes come from rural Oregon is a real positive point for my patients who enjoy having my scribe in the encounter; many patients have taken a real interest in these future healthcare professionals by asking at subsequent encounters how their tests, interviews, and so-forth are coming as they progress in their professional education.”

According to Dr. Jay Richards, the Family Practice & Medical Director of UCHC, “the scribes have become a critical part of our care teams. The providers have all been very impressed with their abilities. They have also taken on process improvement tasks and training to do medical assistant duties, which gives them more hands-on patient care. This experience has provided them a better understanding of routine primary care and allows them a better informed decision as they apply for post graduate training. We are excited to expand the program to hire more scribes for next year.”

Photo Left: Michael Graham scribes for Dr. Chip Taylor at the Sutherlin clinic

When asked about his experiences in this program, scribe Michael Graham said “The scribe program has afforded me the opportunity to learn and grow as a healthcare professional in more ways than I had initially thought possible. Being in a rural federally qualified health clinic, I see numerous barriers to healthcare that individuals in a rural community face that I had previously only read about in textbooks. My position at UCHC in Sutherlin has allowed me to begin to think critically as a provider and to fully gauge my interest in working with the rural community as a PA. Each day I get the opportunity to practice humility, service, understanding, patience and empathy as I both listen to and interact with patients. The lessons I am learning both personally and professionally will serve to make me a better provider and, more importantly, a better person.”

Seeing the program become a success so quickly has prompted plans for future expansion. AHECSW plans to continue placing scribes at UCHC next summer, as well as to form new partnerships with other providers in Douglas County who could benefit from a program such as this. Marketing this unique scribe program will play a significant role in next year’s recruitment success. AHECSW will be reaching out to colleges and universities across the northwest to inform aspiring pre-med students of this opportunity. AHECSW is proud to cooperate with community partners, such as UCHC, to grow this scribe program in Douglas County. The ultimate reward would be to see these individuals return to Douglas County after medical school to provide quality healthcare in our rural community.


Photo Left: Jaide Farr prepares to chart information for Dr. Joseph Amavisca




Americorps Volunteers

 Monday, September 12, 2016

As the summer ends and the school year gets underway, AHECSW is sad to say goodbye to Americorps Volunteer, Jeremiah Jurich, who is leaving due to his program term ending.  Jeremiah spent the first portion of the summer assisting with the organization and execution of the CTE summer camps. His time was then allocated towards helping plan the Bright Works Oregon (BWO) classes that are scheduled to begin this Fall at four different chapter sites around Douglas County!

Jeremiah is excited to begin his new job on the Ski Patrol at Lake Tahoe and is also preparing his medical school applications.  On his time in Douglas County, Jeremiah stated, “I have loved getting to know the AHECSW team and getting to explore the beautiful area of southwest Oregon. Roseburg is a wonderful community and I will miss it”.

As AHECSW says goodbye to Jeremiah, they welcome the new 11-month Americorps volunteer, Nalani Wakinekona to their staff. Nalani will be helping with the BWO course for the following year and mentoring students for long-term success.

Nalani is the new AmeriCorps Pre-Health Mentor at AHECSW. She is originally from San Pedro, which is a small port town in Los Angeles County in southern California. Even though many people immediately associate Los Angeles with the city, she has always lived minutes away from the ocean. The relaxed attitude of SoCal is very much a part of much personality, and her memories of swimming, surfing, and camping on the beach are close to her heart.

Growing up her mother always taught her and her sister the importance of education and all the doors that an education could open for them. As a single parent, her mother did everything she could to send them to the best schools possible. Nalani was fortunate enough to be accepted into Stanford University in northern California.  In June of 2016 she graduated from Stanford with a Bachelor's degree in Human Biology with a concentration in Infectious Disease and Global Health Narratives. Her long-term goal is to attend medical school and become a doctor but she has taken a detour.

In college Nalani loved biology and global health courses, but her most meaningful experiences were with different student camps and programs.  She was a residential counselor with the Leland Scholar Program (LSP). LSP is a transition program for low-income and/or first-generation freshmen entering Stanford who want to major in any of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields. As a mentor and a teacher, she taught these students about problem solving, time management, stereotype threat, identity development, and all the student services that are available in college. Basically, she taught them how to survive a prestigious university as a low-income and/or first-generation college student. Allowing these students to see their backgrounds as an advantage rather than a deficit was an incredibly rewarding experience. After working as a mentor for several other organizations, Nalani knew that she had to continue with this type of work. So after she graduated from Stanford she applied and was accepted into the Pre-Health Mentor position with AHECSW through AmeriCorps.

Nalani is excited to be working with AHECSW to strengthen and develop some of their health education programs.  She is most excited to build Bright Works Oregon, which is an after-school program that provides students with the skills, experiences, and opportunities they need to pursue a career in the healthcare industry.  This program introduces students to a wide range of health-related careers, provides hands-on experience with basic medical skills, and connects students to internship/job shadowing/volunteer opportunities offered in Douglas county. Nalani stated, “If a program like BWO was available to me in high school, I would have been the first person to apply.I know that working with AHECSW as an AmeriCorps volunteer will be a challenging journey, but Theodore Roosevelt said that “nothing worth doing is ever easy.”  I couldn’t agree with him more. I’m grateful to all the people who have pushed me to this point and to AHECSW for accepting me into its team. Now it’s my turn to serve the community and help the young people of Douglas County realize their full potential.”

Welcome to the team Nalani!


Aspiring Healthcare Providers Participate in Bright Works Academy Camp

 Tuesday, August 23, 2016










The Area Health Education Center of Southwest Oregon (AHECSW) launched it’s first-ever Bright Works Academy Camp on July 25th. The two-week Academy program was designed for students who are confidently pursuing healthcare occupations after high school and who have previously participated in Bright Works Oregon programs. Five Douglas County students participated in the Academy, all of whom are planning on entering the healthcare workforce. The program focused on sharpening students’ professional skills, preparing them for the college and scholarship application process, and allowing them access to the expertise and wisdom of a variety of healthcare professionals. Additionally, this program offered each student job shadow experiences with local healthcare providers.

Meet the Academy Students 


From Left: Erica Abercrombie, Emily Do, Mady Gibbs, Taylor Kuntz, Alex Kennedy






Erica Abercrombie – Erica is entering her Junior year at Roseburg High School. She has participated in the Bright Works Oregon program for the last two years. She aspires to become a Cardiologist. Erica was able to gain job shadow experience at Dr. Alanson Randol’s Dental Office, as well as with Physical Therapist, Jenny Gibbs, at Achieve Physical Therapy. When asked about her experiences at Academy, Erica said “Academy Camp was a wonderful introduction to many opportunities in the medical field and life as a medical student. Through this camp we learned soft skills like interviewing, improving our résumé, and general speaking skills. These skills will definitely be useful in my path to working in the healthcare field.

Emily Do – Emily has been an active Bright Works member for the last two years. She is heading into her Senior year at Roseburg High School. After undergraduate, Emily plans to attend a Physician’s Assistant program and hopes to become a Surgical Physician’s Assistant. She was able to job shadow with Fire District 2, as well as with Dr. Smith and Dr. Bruns at the Oregon Surgery Center. According to Emily, "AHEC has given its students many wonderful opportunities to explore and learn about various healthcare careers in their CTE summer camps. It was an honor to participate in them. The camps I went to were all different and exciting; I was able to gain useful insight and critical advice on the educational paths to becoming a stellar healthcare provider."

Mady Gibbs – Mady is going to be a Sophomore at Oakland High School this fall. She has an interest in Biomedical Engineering and would potentially like to have a career involved in cancer research or in finding delivery systems for cancer treatments. She completed a job shadow with the staff in the lab of Mercy Medical Center. Mady said “Academy was an incredible opportunity for myself and others who participated to experience all aspects of the medical field, and then some. The chance to learn about different career options, how to prepare for these careers, and getting to learn about necessary things that you need to know is something many students don't get to have, but should take the opportunity to be involved with.”

Alex Kennedy – Alex will be a Senior at Sutherlin High School. He aspires to become an Emergency Medical Technician Paramedic and work with a local Fire Department. Alex has a desire to stay in our local community and plans to attend the Paramedic Program at Umpqua Community College after high school. Currently, Alex is a volunteer with the Ten-Mile Rural Fire Department. Alex had the opportunity to shadow with Deb Groshong in the Orthopedic department at Mercy Medical Center, as well as a shadow with Physical Therapist, Jenny Gibbs, of Achieve Physical Therapy. Alex said “This camp taught me more than just medical care. This camp taught me how to have a successful interview. This camp also taught me about college debt and how to pay that off. I learned more about the medical field in this camp than I have ever known.”

Taylor Kuntz – Taylor will be a Senior at Sutherlin High School this fall. Since a young age, Taylor has known she wants to become an Anesthesiologist. She has been participating in the Bright Works program for the last two years. Taylor was able to job shadow with Fire District 2, as well as with Dr. Valle at the Weston Eye Center.


The Academy Experience

The Academy camp kicked off with guest speaker Michelle Kronner, Director of Volunteer Services at Mercy Medical Center, who presented on the rules of HIPAA and on professionalism in the workplace. Students spent the second half of the day in a team-building activity at Roseburg’s Create & Sip Studio, where each student painted a portrait called “Roseburg Strong” to serve as a reminder of their Douglas County roots. Students also had a session with former CEO of the Roseburg Community Cancer Center, Melvin Cheney. Mr. Cheney talked about his wide variety of career experience in Oncology and the many places he worked before ending his career in Roseburg. Additionally, students had the opportunity to hear about employability and interviewing skills from Jane Fullerton and Kelley Richardson of the Human Resources Department for Mercy Medical Center. Students’ skills were put to the test during mock interviews following the presentation.

The first week of Academy concluded with a three-day trip to Portland to visit various medical institutions, including Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and the National College of Natural Medicine. This fieldtrip included both AHECSW high school camps, so Academy students had the opportunity to get to know High School Exposure Camp students. At OHSU, students toured a wide variety of departments, including the nursing school Simulation Lab, the Dental School, Radiation Therapy, and Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. Students had the unique opportunity to have question and answer sessions with multiple physicians while at OHSU. Students received a tour of the Doernbecher Intensive Care Unit followed by a discussion session with Dr. Laura Ibsen, a Critical Care Pediatrician, and Dr. David Rozansky, a Pediatric Nephrologist who works with children with kidney diseases. Students also met with third-year General Surgery Resident, Dr. Heather Hoops, who gave a detailed account of her path to becoming a Surgeon and the details of what daily life is like for a Surgical Resident.

The second week of the Academy camp continued with excellent presentations and the opportunity for students to complete job shadows with local healthcare providers. Bob Dunas, the Service Excellence Coordinator for Mercy Medical Center, provided students with a full day of training on “Motivational Interviewing,” where students learned how to interact with patients and empower them to make decisions that will improve the quality of their health. Umpqua Training & Employment Center (UT&E) sent career counselor, Stephe Reid, to lead a workshop with students in which they evaluated their career choices and received résumé building skills and feedback. Students interacted via video chat with Dr. Elizabeth Estabrook from Legacy Emmanuel Medical Center in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Estabrook, who has been practicing internal medicine for the last 8 years, described her job as a Hospitalist and what her daily routine and schedule looks like. The final presentation at Academy provided the perfect capstone to the experience; students had a round-table discussion with Dr. Chip Taylor, a family physician with the Umpqua Community Health Center (UCHC). Dr. Taylor shared with students the knowledge he has gained through his wide variety of medical service in the Navy, as well as in his career as a family physician. During the final week of Academy, students were welcomed into job shadow placements all around the community. Academy students attended two job shadows each and had a chance to practice the professional skills they had been learning about from presenters. Many providers and organizations willingly accepted students for job shadows, including the Weston Eye Center, local dentist Dr. Alanson Randol, Fire District 2, Oregon Surgery Center, Mercy Medical Center, and Achieve Physical Therapy.

Gratitude for Community Support

A program like this can’t come together without the incredible support of our community. In addition to the gratitude we have for all the presenters and job shadow hosts mentioned above, AHECSW would like to thank the Community Cancer Center for generously allowing us the use of their conference rooms. We would also like to thank the Umpqua Valley STEAM Hub and the Douglas County Partners for Student Success (DCPSS) for securing funding for our summer camp programs. As the saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child.” In this case, the support of our community will support these Academy students to achieve their future career goals. Perhaps in ten years Douglas County will be fortunate enough to have these individuals providing healthcare in our communities. We certainly look forward to following these students in the years to come as they continue their journey toward entering the healthcare workforce.