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AHECSW Wraps Up the Healthcare Adventures for 2015-2016 Academic Year

 Wednesday, May 18, 2016

As our academic year winds down, AHECSW is grateful for the wonderful presenters that connected with our youth throughout this year. Our students had support from local and statewide networks of healthcare professionals and pre-professional healthcare students that gave our youth a unique perspective on healthcare careers. Students learned both soft and hard skills this year that will help prepare them to be successful as they continue to work towards becoming future healthcare professionals.

The Winston-Dillard course at Douglas High School had the opportunity to engage with a variety of local presenters, as well as attend trips with our Roseburg Bright Works Oregon Chapter. The Winston-Dillard students had the opportunity to participate in the Healthy Kids Day at the Douglas County YMCA for their team project. During this event they pulled information from the presentations they viewed and incorporated preventative healthcare information that related to careers. This pilot project is being evaluated and the AHECSW staff has exciting plans to expand the in-school programming options in the future. This year they had the opportunity to connect the Umpqua Community College (UCC) Nursing Program, Dr. Randol, DDS’s dental practice, COMP-NW, Oegon State University (OSU), Southern Oregon University (SOU), Umpqua Community Veg Education Group (UC-VEG), and several of CHI Mercy Health’s departments including: Communications, Lab, and Radiology.

The Roseburg Bright Works Oregon Chapter got hands-on this term. They experienced dissections, professional presentations, and had the opportunity to attend two spring trips to view post-secondary healthcare education programs at Oregon State University and Southern Oregon University. Emily Do, a junior at Roseburg High School, reflected on Dr. Edward Junkins presentation on cultural diversity in healthcare that focused on understanding and respecting other cultures. She shared that, “Dr. Junkins was the most memorable guest speaker for me. He practiced soft skills such as observing patient interactions, being courteous and understanding of cultural differences, especially in the medical setting. In the current times, cultural awareness is an important factor in healthcare.” In addition to gaining insight on soft skills necessary to thrive as a future healthcare professional, some students felt like they connected to programs that increased their excitement for their post-secondary education plans. Jerika Whightsil, a sophomore at Roseburg High School stated, “The nursing program (at SOU) seems very exciting, and I learned a lot for my future path in nursing on how to get my RN. My favorite part of our visit would have to be the simulation room with the mannequins.” This year they had the opportunity to connect the UCC Nursing Program, Providence Hospital, COMP-NW, Oregon Office of Rural Health, REACH Air Medical, OSU, SOU, Umpqua Community Veg Education Group, and CHI Mercy Health’s Radiology Department. The students in the program also had the opportunity to receive their healthcare provider level CPR certification.

AHECSW High School Healthcare Interns also had an exciting winter and spring term spending time at ADAPT, the Community Cancer Center, Fire District No. 2, Roseburg Foot and Ankle Specialists, the Oregon Surgery Center (ORSC), and with several departments at CHI Mercy Health including AIM Therapies, Day Surgery, the Emergency Department, Healthy Kids Outreach Program, Lab, and Radiology. The interns have been impacted in a variety of ways this term, Stella Moon shared, “My time interning at Fire District 2 has been phenomenal, and I must say that it has been my most exciting site of my year because of the nature of the job. I go on ride-alongs on ambulances to emergency calls. It really is an exhilarating experience to have for the first time, speeding out on the road with lights and sirens to potentially save someone's life.”While Dylan Smith found his passion through quality mentoring with the ORSC and Day Surgery staff sharing, “He (local surgeon) took time to teach and show me what he was doing. He would always check to make sure I completely understood what he was doing and why he was doing it. Job shadowing in the surgery department impacted my future career interests because before I didn’t have much of an interest in surgery, but now that is my sole interest in medicine.” Three of our interns are seniors that have been accepted into colleges and still intend to pursue pre-health programs. One of our interns will graduate in 2017 with plans to enroll at university and pursue a science-focused degree pathway.

AHECSW also had the opportunity to host an EMS Career Day event at UCC that gave the students a hands-on opportunity to learn from eight paramedic students and from UCC staff. AHECSW had 17 students from all over the county come and attend. This included some students from our Bright Works Oregon Healthcare Team program, some students felt that this event was the highlight of their year. We are excited to continue our work throughout the summer and into the next academic year. Please make sure to connect with our CTE Camp announcements to learn more: .


Announcing CTE Summer Camps!

 Friday, May 13, 2016

AHECSW is excited to announce our CTE Summer Camp Programs!  CTE stands for Career and Technical Education.This summer, AHECSW is partnering with several community organizations to provide three summer camp experiences for Douglas County Youth.   These camps will provide interactive, hands-on experiences that will allow students to explore career options in the healthcare workforce.  See our summer camp descriptions below to decide which camp is right for you!

AHECSW Summer Camps

“MedChamps” Middle School Camp: June 27-July 1 (M-F), Daily times 9:00am-2:00pm

Contact: Lacey Ferguson, Education Coordinator   Email:

MedChamps Registration Link:

The Area Health Education Center is hosting a Middle School Healthcare Exploration Camp. This five-day camp will be held at UCC. This camp is open to middle school students in grades 6th – 8th, ages 11-14. Our program will have the capacity to serve up to 30 youth. We will present career pathway information, provide hands-on skill experiences, and guarantee fun as we explore rural healthcare, various medical careers, and spend a day conducting a mock diagnosis.  This camp will be provided free of charge to students.


High School Healthcare Exposure Camp: July 18-29 (M-F), Daily times 9:00am-2:00pm

Contact: Tawnie Kennedy, High School Coordinator Email:

Healthcare Exposure Camp Registration Link:  

The Area Health Education Center is hosting a Medical Exploration Camp from July 18-29. This ten-day camp will be held at UCC.This camp is open to high school students from 14-18 years of age. Our program will have the capacity to serve up to 20 youth. We will present career pathway information, provide hands-on skill experiences, and guarantee fun as we explore rural healthcare, various medical careers, and take students to view post-secondary medical education programs. This camp will include a 3-day, 2-night fieldtrip to Portland to explore several Oregon universities, OHSU, and the National College of Natural Medicine. This camp, including the overnight trip, will be provided free of charge to the students.


Bright Works Academy Camp: July 25-August 5 (M-F), Daily times 9:00am – 3:00pm

Contact: Lacey Ferguson, Education Coordinator     Email:

Bright Works Academy Camp Registration Link:

The high school Academy Camp is designed for students who are already participating in the Bright Works Organization after-school programs or classes. This camp will focus on exploring the “soft skills” of the medical field, such as empathy, communication, bedside manner, and teamwork. Additionally, this camp will prepare students for applying to colleges and marketing themselves to universities and programs. Students will participate in group discussions, mock interviews, human resource activities, and team-building activities. This academy will also provide students with a 4 day job-shadow opportunity in the healthcare industry. This camp will include a 3-day, 2-night fieldtrip to Portland to explore OHSU and its programs. This camp, including the overnight trip, will be provided free of charge to the students.



AHECSW Students Visit Oregon State University

 Friday, April 01, 2016

The Area Health Education Center of Southwest Oregon (AHECSW) had the opportunity to take 22 students from Douglas County to visit Oregon State University (OSU) on February 26, 2016. The trip included students from Douglas High School, Phoenix Charter School, Roseburg High School, and Sutherlin High School. Students had the opportunity to learn about the human body and were able to participate in hands-on activities such as manipulating the cadavers to see various internal and external structures. During these sessions, students had questions about the human body and the anatomy and physiology program at OSU and they were able to have those inquiries addressed by Dr. Devon Quick and her pre-health student teaching interns Bryce, Junior, and Amanda. Noah Stephens, a student from Roseburg High School, said that he gained "A more important understanding of the human body and what it takes to be someone that helps people."  He shared that this experience impacted him because "It just interested me more (in a healthcare career) because of all the things I can learn about the human body."    

During the second part of the trip students were able to meet with pre-health students to learn more about their experiences, this included two pre-dental students (Maria and Eric), and one pre-medical student (Kristin). The students had the opportunity to hear about how the pre-health students got to where they are now, what they are currently doing at OSU, and what they plan to do after they graduate. The pre-health students advised our students on what they would have done differently if they had the chance to do it all over again. Taylor Kuntz, a student from Sutherlin High School, said that the presentation provided her with, "A better understanding of what college is like and it really made me realize that this is what I want to get into. The best part of the presentation was the teacher. She was so helpful and willing to share." While Reena Daly, a student from Roseburg High School, shared some tips that she picked up from the student presentation! She noted that she "Learned a lot about college and how to start off successful by visiting teachers during office hours."

Overall the students had a wonderful experience visiting the OSU campus. Emily Do, a student from Roseburg High School, said "It reinforces my choice to pursue a career as a surgical physician's assistant. The human body is fascinating." AHECSW would like to thank the OSU faculty and students for taking the time to inspire our students and encourage them to pursue the education they will need to be successful as future healthcare providers.







AHECSW ReConnects Post-Secondary Students to Rural Communities

 Thursday, January 14, 2016

AHECSW checked in with our college interns that are participating in our ReConnect program to review their experiences working in a rural community and mentoring high school students.

When reflecting on the role that Duval plays with the program and what he has learned from his experience in his role he shared, "I play a very personal yet professional role with the students in the Bright Works Oregon Healthcare Team Program. As a Pre-Health Advisor, I have to know these students on a personal level and learn a lot about their goals in life to do my job effectively. I am only able to provide guidance and make helpful suggestions to the students when I know what area of healthcare they want to go into and why they want to pursue that area specifically. I also play a much more professional role with students in the program. In order to effectively teach the professional skills that the students need to learn, I have to play the role of an authority figure so that they realize the importance of what I am teaching." 

The experience hasn't only exposed Short and Duval to the clinical side of healthcare in a rural community, but they have been able to connect to the investment that a community must make in their own students. They have been able to witness the altruistic spirit that many local professionals demonstrate through the time they donate to the programs. Short shared his insights on what he has witnessed and learned through his role," Our rural community is entirely dependent upon its own healthcare professionals. The services available in Douglas County and surrounding areas depend upon the available healthcare workforce. If the rural community needs more or different services it is upon that community to establish the necessary services. Obviously a community is dependent upon its healthcare system but a successful community will have a healthcare system that is entrenched in the community. In other words, the healthcare workforce must be invested in its community. Our rural healthcare system has that -- it exists outside of the hospital. Our healthcare professionals are uniquely invested in the welfare of their community. I say this from a personal level, for I have had the privilege to work alongside many of them as they volunteered their time to give presentations, lead dissections, and mentor young students in our community."

When we asked Short and Duval how these experiences were shaping their potential future career pathway and what value they saw in the programs aiding in filling our local rural healthcare workforce pipeline they provided our staff with valuable feedback. Short stated that, " These experiences have reaffirmed my desire to work in the fields of healthcare or public health. The amount of community investment that I have seen from the various healthcare professionals that work with Bright Works Oregon and AHEC points to a level of altruism that I would like to attain! This level of investment has shown me that single individuals can create impactful change within rural communities.The ability to work with my community and its healthcare system have allowed me to appreciate the importance of rural healthcare and its fragility. Communities without proper healthcare or healthcare access will clearly suffer and rural communities continuously show an increasing need for healthcare professionals. Therefore, the rural health pipeline must be filled in order to maintain healthy and successful rural communities."   Duval reinforced Short's sentiments on the impacts of the program and the increased knowledge he has gained by participating in this program by saying, "I feel that the need to fill the rural health pipeline is of great importance. If I did not feel this way, then I would not be planning on working as a healthcare professional in a rural area myself. Rural communities unfortunately sometimes have some of the worst statistics relating to their overall health.If we are to better these types of statistics in rural communities, the deficit of healthcare workers in these areas must be eliminated. With an ever-growing human population, the overall health of these communities is only going to continue to dwindle if changes are not made. Filling the rural health pipeline is imperative to improving the health of communities across Oregon, a mission I personally plan on continuing to aid in the future."

AHECSW feels honored to have these two remarkable young men as our first ReConnect students. We have been able to see the positive impact that they have had on the community and with the students. We hope to continue to support them and offer them resources as they continue working towards their future careers in healthcare field. 


AHECSW Student Success

 Friday, January 08, 2016

Do you ever wonder what our students are up to? Where they are now? What they have gained from our programs? AHECSW checked back in with Benjamyn Seamans, a High School Healthcare Intern from the 2014-15 class, to see what track he was on now.

1.What are you now currently planning on doing with your education and what is your major?

"My current educational plans are to become a radiologist; however, I have yet discovered what I would like to major in. Currently, I am a scholars student at Umpqua Community College and my ultimate goal is to finish my prerequisites before attending a university."

2.How do you feel your experiences in the AHECSW program have prepared you for the educational pathway you are on now and for the position that you received at Mercy Medical Center?

"My experiences with AHECSW have allowed me to discover my true interest. For example, I had always thought that I would have an interest within Emergency Medicine (ED); however, after interning within the Emergency Department (ED) I quickly realized that working within the ED would not be enjoyable for me due to my individual personality and preferences. AHECSW helped me confirm my love for Radiology and has allowed me to pursue a career that I truly love and enjoy. Radiology is where my heart is."

3.What do you do for Mercy Medical Center and how do you feel that this position will help advance you in pursuing your future career?

"I am a Radiology Assistant at Mercy Medical Center and believe that my current job will aide to my success due to the fact that I serve as an assistant to Ultrasound, CT, X-ray, Nuclear Medicine, and MRI. Working with all of these modalities provides, in my opinion, a phenomenal source of information and resources in which I can excel from."

When we checked in with Teresa Adams, the Assistant Director of Imaging at Mercy Medical Center, she shared that, "When Ben did his externship with our dept., he was very professional and genuinely interested in what the staff was doing. He asked questions and was engaged, which in turn, makes the techs want to teach. Having Ben in our dept. for 8 weeks, we got to know him and his work ethic, somewhat like an extended interview for us and for the student. His professionalism, personality and knowledge of our dept. he gained from his externship made him the perfect candidate when we had job openings."

These comments and highlights from professionals and students help reinforce the important role that these experiences play in preparing our youth to be college and career ready by helping them make more informed decisions that allow them to visualize themselves in a specific career pathway. The AHECSW staff loves hearing the success stories from past program participants and we look forwarding to seeing what Ben accomplishes in the future!


House and Senate Pass the OmniBus Appropriations Package, Including $30.250 million for Nationwide AHEC Program

 Monday, January 04, 2016

Washington, D.C Hill Update

Last week, the National AHEC Organization (NAO) Board President Jacqueline Wynn (NC AHEC Program) and NAO CEO Robert Trachtenberg, conducted Hill visits with Congressional Members in Washington, D.C. in support of AHEC funding for FY2016 and FY2017. Their visits were both extremely well-received by those with whom they met and timely, given that discussion and deliberation regarding the Omnibus Bill were underway. In fact, one of the highlights of their visit was hearing an unnamed source from a very influential congressional office senior staff stating "thank you for coming and keeping us aware of the work across the country, as AHEC is a perfect example of how federal funds work well". It was heartening and an affirmation to hear this positive, effusive feedback.

Late last week, congressional leadership and the administration reached agreement on a comprehensive fiscal year (FY) 2016 omnibus appropriations bill and tax package. The omnibus bill and tax measure were among the few legislative items that Congress “must pass” before adjourning for the year. The House and Senate passed the omnibus appropriations package the morning of December 18th, and the President has signed the bill into law, including $30.250 million for the Area Health Education Center Program, which is level funded from FY 2015.

The omnibus appropriations measure totals nearly $1.1 trillion and includes all twelve annual appropriations bills for FY 2016. With additional spending available to congressional appropriators after the two-year budget deal was completed in November, many medical research and public health programs fare relatively well under the final funding package. Some policy-riders are included in the FY 2016 omnibus package, but the more contentious items were either dropped from the bill or negotiated thoroughly to reach a final deal.

The FY 2016 omnibus includes additional language and guidance through the joint explanatory statements that accompany the bill. Report language included previously in the Committee Reports accompanying the respective FY 2016 House and Senate appropriations bills is binding under the omnibus bill and federal agencies will respond appropriately in the current fiscal year.

The FY 2016 omnibus appropriations package provides the following funding for public health and education agencies:

  • $162.1 billion in discretionary funding for the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education (LHHS) appropriations bill, an increase of $5.4 billion over FY 2015.
  • $727.69 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), an increase of $40.49 billion over FY 2015.
  • $6.38 billion for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an increase of $36.77 million over FY 2015.
  • $7.23 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an increase of $307.63 million over FY 2015.
  • $32.08 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an increase of $2 billion over FY 2015.
  • $3.78 billion for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an increase of $160.2 million over FY 2015.
  • $334 million for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), a decrease of $29.7 million from FY 2015.
  • $646.65 billion (in mostly mandatory funding) for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), an increase of $35.22 billion over FY 2015.
  • $2.92 billion for the Office of the HHS Secretary, an increase of $413.61 million over FY 2015.
  • $71.7 billion for the Department of Education (DoE), an increase of $1.23 billion over FY 2015.

Of specific interest to our membership, the FY 2016 omnibus appropriations package includes:

Health Resources and Services Administration

  • $1.491 billion for HRSA’s Community Health Centers, level funded from FY 2015.
  • Training for Diversity

  • $21.711 million for Minority Centers of Excellence (COE), level funded from FY 2015
  • $14.189 million for Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP), level funded from FY 2015.
  • $38. 924 million for Training in Primary Care Medicine, level funded from FY 2015.
  • $35.873 million for Oral Health Training, an increase of $1.945 over FY 2015.
  • $786.89 million for the Bureau of Healthcare Workforce, an increase of $35.295 million over FY 2015.
  • $30.250 million for the Area Health Education Center Program, level funded from FY 2015



AHECSW: Talking Health with Architrave

 Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The AHECSW staff members, Chris Guastaferro and Rose Zoellner, recently had the opportunity to sit down with Dan Bain from Architrave Health LLC to discuss AHECSW programs and projects in Douglas County. To listen to the interview visit:





 Tuesday, December 01, 2015

AHECSW's High School Health Internship Program (HSHIP) is heading into its fourth year. This program focuses on giving students that are invested in pursuing a healthcare career an immersive experience in the healthcare environment as well as an opportunity to form relationships with local healthcare professionals. Students in this program have the opportunity to spend between 35-70 hours participating in clinical observations to gain a more in depth understanding of the inner workings of these facilities, patient interaction, and why staff have chosen to dedicate themselves to this pathway.This Fall our students had the opportunity to discuss their unique experiences and they were given the option to provide a blog, video, or utilize other media formats to discuss the impact that their sites had on them. 

Emma Myers, a junior at Douglas High School who aspires to become a physician or plans to pursue a career in medical research, spent her fall term with Dr. Thomas Leech's office and the Weston Eye Center with Dr. Jon-Marc Weston and Dr. Greg Valle. Emma felt that something she gained from her first term with these offices was an increased understanding of patient interactions. Emma shared that before this experience she was a little uncomfortable with the idea of interacting with patients, but through this experience she had gained confidence in her abilities. Through this experience she not only had the opportunity to view eye exams, but she was also able to learn more about different procedures and eye health. Emma discusses her observations of patient appointments in Dr. Leech's office in the following video.   

Understanding what it takes to be a quality provider seemed to continue to be a theme throughout the term. Abby Lyons, a senior at Yoncalla High School interested in nursing and dental assisting, was impressed with dedication she observed at Dr. Randol's office. Abby learned that you really have to understand each individual patient to understand the kind of care that will work best for them. She shared this reflection on the patient care she observed: 

"Dr. Randol's office has shown amazing patient care. There was never just one moment where I was like, “Wow look at how well they treat the patients!” Instead, it was a constant thing that I saw. The assistants and hygienists were always kind and happy to see the patients. They would ask them how their day was going and they were genuine with their questions. The assistants and hygienists really did want to help the patients get better, they weren't at work just for a pay check. Dr. Randol did his best to make the patients time there as enjoyable as possible.He was always upbeat and happy. He would explain to the patients what he was doing and why.

I learned that patient care isn't just making sure that the patient has good care, but it is also about making the patient comfortable, gaining a relationship with them and helping them have an enjoyable time. The assistants and hygienists do their best to remember each patient and what they like. Some patients like to talk a lot, others like silence. The assistants and hygienists are responsible for feeling this out and finding what each patient likes so that the patient has a good time there. Everyone was so focused on making the patient happy and working with them to get the patients the care they needed."

Stella Moon, a senior at Roseburg High School interested in becoming a physician, spent some time observing physical and occupational therapists at Mercy Medical Center's AIM Therapies (formerly known as Mercy Institute of Rehabilitation). One thing Stella noted about being in this field was that you had a continued relationship with your patient because they usually had to come in for multiple session and that quality patient care is crucial when you are working with these types of therapies. Below are Stella's reflections on her term with her site: 

"Each week I observed different therapists work with their patients, and I learned about uses of various machines, forms of manual therapy, and other exercise methods that the therapists followed. I also shadowed the office secretaries and helped organize files and papers, and I learned what the physical therapy technicians' jobs entailed. It was very interesting to learn all of these things because I had not known much about therapy before. But one especially striking part about my internship was the immense patient care that the healthcare professionals at my site provided.

Every therapist, office staff member, and technician greeted their patients with sincere warmth and care. During therapy sessions, the therapists visited with the patients, told and listened to stories, and laughed with patients. Although none of these things are required as a part of therapy, the therapists did them because they genuinely cared about their patients. They would see their patients a week later and remember their stories and ask about them. If a patient had mentioned seeing her son that weekend, the therapists would ask about it a week later. This was amazing to me because the therapists have so many different patients come in throughout the day and to give each patient individual care takes a lot of commitment. The office staff and technicians showed the same commitment and authentic care to patients. They visited with every patient who came through and accommodated each of them for their separate needs.

My experience seeing the excellent patient care at the Mercy Institute of Rehabilitation was such an inspiration for my future career. No matter what I decide to do, I hope to be able to show just as much compassion and care as the staff I observed did."

Dylan Smith, a senior at Roseburg High School who hopes to become a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant one day, had the unique opportunity to form meaningful relationships with staff at the Shaw Heart Center at Mercy Medical Center. He discussed the impact that the staff had on his understanding of cardiology as well as technical terms and procedures. Dylan will never forget the mentors that inspired him.  

"Four specific hospital employees made the biggest impact in my internship; Sigourney Zallen, Crystal Clark, and Lindsay Wallenburn, who are all Radiology Technicians that work in cardiology, and Sarah Walton-Mahlberg, a Registered Nurse. Each of these professionals took the time to give me some hands-on learning experiences and made me feel valued because of the extra time they put aside to educate me. 

Sigourney taught me how the procedure tables get set up and even taught me how to open packages in a way to keep the object inside sterile and how to drop it onto the procedure table. Within a few weeks I had already learned how most procedure tables get set up and I even got to assist in setting up the procedure table a couple times and also getting various supplies needed for the procedure. This was an amazing experience. Crystal Clark had saved an extra balloon catheter from a procedure for me to learn how to use and inflate with a saline solution and contrast inside, which was really interesting and a rare opportunity for a student like myself. Lindsay had made my whole internship in cardiology worthwhile because she spent every opportunity she could to educate me on any question or procedure I knew nothing on. It was really refreshing to me to have someone explaining everything they are doing while they are doing it. Sarah was also a great resource during my internship because she always made sure I had something to do and she was always there and excited to answer any question I had. Sarah has impacted my career pathway because most of my focus before this internship in Cardiology was in the physician side of medicine and never on anything such as nursing, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. After meeting her and hearing her personal opinions based off of her personal experiences, my mind was opened to many more sides of medicine than before."

These interactions with healthcare professionals will forever impact the journey that these four students take. The AHECSW staff continues to be impressed with the quality interactions that our students have at these sites and the quality care that they observe these providers giving in our community! We can't wait to hear about their experiences at their next site!

HSHIP Fall Term Sites 

AIM Therapies (Mercy Medical Center)

Dr. Alanson Randol, DDS

Dr. Thomas Leech, O.D.

Shaw Heart and Vascular Center (Mercy Medical Center)

Weston Eye Center 

AHECSW BWO Programs Kick Off for Fall 2015

 Tuesday, December 01, 2015

AHECSW's Bright Works Oregon Healthcare Team Program (BWO HT Program) started out its Fall programming by sending 11 students from Douglas County to explore healthcare educational pathways at the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific Northwest (COMPNW) and Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU). The students that participated in this trip were part of the Bright Works Oregon Healthcare Team Summer Leadership Program. Students enrolled in the leadership program had to go through 20+ hours of professional development and career exploration before being accepted for this trip. Additionally, they were also required to complete a community health project and this summer they chose to focus on a tobacco prevention initiative. The students selected were interested in a variety of career pathways including: nursing, dentistry, physician assistant, and physician. Many of the students selected have also expressed an interest in coming back to serve in a rural community upon completion of their education.

Emma Myers, a junior at Douglas High School in Winston, OR, shared her thoughts on her experience and how it helped to build her confidence. Emma stated that, "Before going to the OHSU campus, med school was surrounded in this mystic haze. It felt like it was some impossible goal, but after going there and meeting their staff I was suddenly aware that these people were just people like me. It helped me realize that my goals were reachable"

Soon after the trip our chapter meetings kicked off in Douglas County. We currently have 33 students enrolled with a representation from Camas Valley Charter School, Douglas High School, Glide High School, Phoenix Charter School, Oakland High School, Oregon Virtual Academy, Roseburg High School, and Yoncalla High School. The chapters are being lead by our college pre-health advisers, Lucas Short and Jason Duval. We have had some great presentations already! We had a wonderful presentation from the Umpqua Community College nursing students.The nursing students were able to present on the steps required to get into the nursing program, the nursing thinking process, and basic vitals. Our advisers were also able to instruct students on how to build a resume and gastroenterology careers. Randy Chase visited our group to discuss the value of communication as a skill for future success and to help support a rat dissection that focused on the digestive system after our discussion on gastroenterology. Through the BWO program our students were additionally able to celebrate Rural Healthcare Day by recognizing local providers, provide outreach in the community during Halloween with South River Community Health Center, and attend a surgical viewing at Providence Medical Center to view a total knee replacement with an orthopedic surgeon.

Emily Do, a junior at Roseburg High School in Roseburg, OR, interested in becoming a Physician Assistant (PA), commented on her experience in the program stating that, "The BWO team has given me an opportunity to fulfill a leadership position while working with new individuals who share my interest in the medical field. I have gained new skills with surgical viewings, dissections, seminars, and working with healthcare professionals. This program has reassured my passion in healthcare careers."     

While future nursing student and senior at Roseburg High School, Crystal Rodriguez, has found the program to be, "impactful, educational, and inspiring" Crystal shared, "I have enjoyed my  experiences with AHECSW throughout the fall semester from dissecting a rat to learning how to become a Registered Nurse.I have learned and gained so much, as well as having the opportunity to show appreciation to the healthcare community around me for supporting not only this amazing program, but for providing amazing care for people in Roseburg."

Taylor Kuntz, a junior at Sutherlin High School in Sutherlin, OR, who aspires to be an anesthesiologist, discussed her appreciation for this program and opportunity by saying, "The BWO program has given me amazing opportunities to advance in my medical field aspirations. Living in a rural community makes it difficult to get hands-on experience with professionals; but thanks to this program I have been able to view a live surgery, take a tour of OHSU, and get CPR certified. The program also gives me a chance to give back to my community." 

The AHECSW team loves the enthusiasm and passion our amazing team of students has demonstrated so far this Fall for rural healthcare. We look forward to welcoming more students into the program this year that have an interest in healthcare. The students in our program not only want to pursue this career, but they have shown that they care about their community and the people in it. Our support from our local partners has continued to be wonderful. We appreciate their continued commitment to inspire youth in our community, as well as provide unique opportunities.

OHSU & COMPNW Experience   

AHEC Program Office



OHSU PA Program

OHSU Medical School Admissions 

OHSU Simulation Lab 

OHSU Surgical Department 

BWO Fall Chapters

Phoenix Charter School- Chapter Host 

Randy Chase- Presenter 

South River Community Health Center- Chapter Host, Presenter, and Event Partner 

Umpqua Community College Nursing Students- Presenter

Providence Hospital Surgical Viewing

Providence St. Vincent Medical Center

Cortney Humbert, Nursing Student- Volunteer 

Gabrielle Webster, Phoenix School Teacher- Volunteer

Fall Supporters

DA Davidson

Mercy Medical Center

Umpqua Valley Regional STEAM Hub 

Fall Program Staff

Jason Duval, Pre-Health Advisor and Winston Chapter Leader 

Lucas Short, Pre-Health Advisor and Roseburg Chapter Leader 

Rose Zoellner, Program Director 




Oregon GME Consortium Created to Establish Residency Programs in Rural and Underserved Areas

 Wednesday, November 04, 2015
Roseburg, OR – Like other states across the country, Oregon faces a critical primary care physician shortage. A recent study estimates the need for an additional 1,726 physicians (all specialties), 332 nurse practitioners, and 168 physician assistants in Oregon. Clearly, Oregon is in critical need of a solution.

To address this need, hospitals, health systems, physician groups and both Oregon medical schools have come together to form the Oregon Graduate Medical Education (GME) Consortium. Consortium members agree that urgent steps must be taken to ensure rural Oregonians, as well as those from underserved communities, have access to doctors when they need them. Consortium Board members will be announced on November 19th in Roseburg.

“When physicians complete their residencies in rural locations, it is more likely they will stay and establish practices in those communities. Unfortunately, in 2011, Oregon had only 8.4 primary care residents per 100,000 population, ranking the state fortieth in the nation. This is why the Oregon GME Consortium will focus on establishing new or expanding existing residency programs to address the coming physician shortage, “explains Cathryn Cushing, Executive Director for the Oregon GME Consortium.  

To meet the demand for primary care due to a growing and aging population and those newly insured under the Affordable Care Act, a thirty-eight percent increase in the primary care physician workforce is needed in Oregon by 2030[1].

 “Increasing the number of primary care providers is important for the health of Oregonians, especially those in rural areas,” Cushing continues. “Primary care physicians improve outcomes for patients and patient care while lowering cost. The Oregon GME Consortium will help Oregon achieve this winning strategy.

What: Official announcement of the Oregon GME Consortium members at Umpqua Community College 

When: November 19th, 10:30am

Where: Umpqua Community College, Lang Center Room 204, 1140 Umpqua College Road, Roseburg, Oregon 97470

Contact: Cathryn Cushing, Executive Director, Oregon GME Consortium, 503-804-9171


The Oregon Legislature’s Healthcare Workforce Committee recommended the development of a statewide, inclusive primary care GME Consortium and stated in a 2014 report that “a GME Consortium would allow all those who would benefit from a community-based primary care residency program to participate, to share the risks and rewards and support each other through the process.”

To implement this recommendation, the Oregon GME Planning Group formed. Planning Group members include representatives from both of Oregon’s medical schools, OHSU and the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific Northwest (COMP-Northwest), two health systems, the Oregon Health Authority, the Area Health Education Center of Southwest Oregon (AHECSW), and several experts in Family Medicine GME. The group selected Tripp Umbach, a Pittsburgh-based consulting firm, to guide the development of the Consortium.

The Consortium is working to develop a funding model for new residency programs. Currently, Federal programs from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) provide payments for graduate medical education, but those payments fall short of covering program costs. Consortium members will contribute financially to support the development of the program, however, additional support is envisioned to come from the state as well as from community and philanthropic organizations. Benefits to members are seen through increased access to qualified healthcare providers, a decrease in recruiting costs, improved access for patients, and a decrease in provider turnover.

Through the Consortium, new primary care residency programs in many areas of the state will be created. The residency programs will be structured in agreement with standards of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. These programs will allow medical school graduates to remain in Oregon to complete their residency training.

The consortium model is relatively new. Georgia has developed a GME consortium, and a similar project is currently underway in Indiana.

 For more information about the Oregon GME Consortium, contact Cathryn Cushing at (503) 804-9171 or

[1] “Oregon: Projecting Primary Care Physician Workforce”, Robert Graham Center, 2013.