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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. 

Featured 2016 AHEC Alumni

 Wednesday, November 09, 2016

The Area Health Education Center of Southwest Oregon (AHECSW) values our past program participants and strives to maintain our relationships with them. We consider these students part of the AHECSW family and we hope offer them continue opportunities, resources, and connections to help them reach their career goals. This page will feature our annual selection for an AHEC Alum that serves as an outstanding example of an AHEC graduate that is still working towards their personal goals and has the desire to serve rural or the under-served populations.

Madison Gladding was a former AHECSW High School Healthcare Intern and a Mercy Medical Center volunteer. Madison is currently a junior chemistry major and math minor at Linfield College. Her favorite class has been analytical chemistry, a class that appeals to her OCD side, followed by physical chemistry. She works as an organic chemistry teaching assistant helping students to preform and understand the labs. Madison is involved in the chemistry club and helps organize different events with the club. She hopes to also begin research with the chemistry department this spring. Madison continues to compete for the college track team in hurdles and long jump. Outside of school, she loves to hike and explore the beautiful Pacific Northwest. With graduation approaching, Madison still intends on becoming a surgeon, but her love of chemistry is making her consider an MD/PhD degree. With this degree, she could continue to peruse both of her passions -- chemistry and medicine. Her ultimate goal would be to get into OHSU, but she is considering some schools on the East Coast. After medical school she intends to return to Oregon to work in a rural area. She hopes to work in a community that has youth programs so that she may mentor and encourage students as others once did for her.



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. 











High School Exploration Camp Students Travel the World of Medicine

 Tuesday, August 16, 2016













Over the past couple of weeks, High School students from Douglas County convened at Umpqua Community College to engage in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) “Exposure Camp” sponsored by AHECSW. The exposure camp was designed for students who were interested in a career in healthcare but not necessarily familiar with the opportunities to be found in rural medicine, with the goal of getting them excited about the possibility of a future in the medical field. The camp consisted of hands on activities with healthcare professionals, as well as an all expenses paid trip to Portland for three days.

The first week started off with a look into the puzzle solving world of lab careers with Pathologist Dr. Claire Stone and lab technicians from Mercy Medical. This was followed by some practical activities with IVs and blood draws (with dummies of course!). Many will remember trauma day as the most exhilarating as it not only involved hands-on activities but also a live demonstration from Douglas County Fire District #2 on cutting open vehicles and how to backboard!

For the less squeamish, cow eye ball dissection the next day was a blast; with students not only learning anatomy but also dissection techniques. After eyeballs, the human mouth was the focus of the campers, with members from the Mercy Foundation delivering an interactive presentation. Then the attention shifted from the mouth towards other health careers, as campers engaged in demonstrations on lifestyle medicine and nutrition from Dr. Charlie Ross and the Umpqua Community Vegetable Education Group (UC-Veg).

Following nutrition, Assistant Director of Imaging at Mercy Medical Center, Teresa Adams gave a presentation on Radiology with students learning about the main modules of imaging the human body. The first stage of camp then concluded with some everyday physical therapy tricks, as well as a presentation from Joe Falls and Roseburg’s sports medicine team.

Up next was the long anticipated trip to Portland, during which the campers joined forces with the Bright Works Oregon Academy group, which was also meeting during the previous week. After a drowsy 6am drive to the OHSU Waterfront Campus, campers got to participate in the Simulation labs, which included aspiring midwife, Makayla, getting to deliver a baby in a mind boggling 5 minutes! After a visit to the Dental School, campers went up “The Hill” to the Radiation Center, as well as Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, where the students got to visit the ICU and speak with Pediatricians from OHSU. After an exhausting day, students wound down with some bowling and pool before retiring to the Portland State University (PSU) dormitories.

Feeling well rested after a relatively lengthy 8 hours of sleep, students loaded onto the bus enroute to OHSU’s Primate Center, where they were given a tour of the facilities and a first hand look into primate research and ethical treatment. After stopping by Oregon State Univeristy (OSU) to learn about some exciting Marine Biology research, the campers arrived back in Roseburg just in time for dinner.

The conclusion of the Portland trip marked the end of AHECSW’s summer programming, but we are eager to begin our Fall curriculum which will include classes, as well as after school courses for Douglas County Schools! More information regarding these opportunities can be found at

AHECSW would like to thank professionals from the community for their part in inspiring our local youth to continue to learn and grow. Additionally, we would like to show gratitude to numerous departments from Oregon Health & Science University, Oregon State University, and the National University of Natural Medicine for their welcoming and informative tours, presentations, and hands-on activities. We would also like to thank Douglas County Partners for Student Success (DCPSS) for their partnership with us and help in gathering funding for the camp.


Middle School MedChamps Camp Students Dive in to Health Care

 Monday, August 08, 2016

Last week 14 youth from across Southwest Oregon came together at Umpqua Community College to explore the world of health occupations in Area Health Education Center of Southwest Oregon's (AHECSW) first ever “MedChamps” middle school camp. The goal of this camp was to expose middle school students to various health professions and help them find potential careers to work toward. Those involved interacted with professionals from different areas of healthcare through engaging hands on activities.


The week began with a dental career presentation and laboratory led by representatives from Dr. Alanson Randol’s office and the Mercy Foundation. This was followed by a day centered on the importance of a healthy lifestyle, with an energizing Zumba dance class and a presentation from Umpqua Community Veg Education Group (UC-Veg).                              

Students then delved into the basics of microscopy and histology with pathologist, Dr. Claire Stone, and heard from veterinarian, Dr. Christy Cutting, about exciting aspects of the animal world. This busy day ended with the campers cooling off in the pool, after learning about river and pool water safety of course!                                                    

After taking in some gnarly narratives and stirring stories from a variety of careers, the campers were able to sort through their experiences with career exploration activities guided by Umpqua Training and Employment UT&E).

The camp concluded with a riveting rat dissection and a dramatic Diagnosis Day with the UCC paramedic program. Campers got to try out a number of emergency medical procedures, from suturing to intubating!

Andrew Dubie, a seventh grade camper, shared that, “the hands on experience was great. I really feel that I learned a lot and would like to be a part of this next year.”                      


Even though the Middle School camp has ended, those of us at AHECSW are excited for the month of July, which will include two more camps, both oriented towards high school aged students. Highlights of these camps include working with airlift paramedics and a three-day excursion to visit OHSU in Portland. Information can be found under the Opportunities page of


AHECSW would like to thank professionals from the community for their part in inspiring our local youth to continue to learn and grow. Additionally, we would like to thank Douglas County Partners for Student Success (DCPSS) for their partnership with us and help in gathering funding for the camp.