image description


AHECSW Legislative Day 2015

 Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Recently Area Health Education Center of Southwest Oregon (AHECSW) selected three outstanding students from Douglas County to travel to Salem, OR to talk to Representatives and Senators about their experiences in the AHECSW programs. The students that were selected were able to join students from all over the state from other Oregon AHECs that were also there to share their experiences and show their appreciation for the support that AHECs receive from the state. 

The students selected this year were participants in the Bright Works Oregon High School Healthcare Internship Program and also served as leaders on other AHECSW program projects. Congratulations to: Benjamyn Seamans, Grade 12, Umpqua Valley Christian School, Quinlan Morrow, Grade 12, Roseburg High School, and Synthany Woodley, Grade 12, Glendale High School! You did a wonderful job sharing our story and your personal experience. 



Diagnosis Day 2015

 Friday, April 24, 2015

AHECSW held Diagnosis Day- Trauma Day 2015 at Mercy Medical Center on April 11, 2015. This was a Douglas County STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts Mathematics) hub activity supported by the Douglas County Partners for Student Success (visit to learn more about other STEAM activities). Twenty-eight (28) students attended with representation from Camas Valley Charter School, Douglas High School, Glide High School, North Douglas High School, Oakland High School, Roseburg High School, and Umpqua Valley Christian School. With presentations from  ten (10) local healthcare professionals that volunteered their time to educate students on healthcare careers. We also had support from five (5) nursing students from Umpqua Community College and one (1) pre-med student, a recent graduate from Oregon State University, that came to mentor and support our youth and discuss their college experience. 


Students arrived on the scene! They found their accident victim (actor) and had guidance from Fire District 2 paramedics, Richard Lounsbury and Nolan McGinnis, and REACH flight paramedic, Keith Neff. 

Then our students were taken through the Emergency Department at Mercy Medical Center with Dr. Jennifer Bodenhamer, DO (Doctor of Osteopathy) and Sarah Malhberg, RN (Registered Nurse), where they discussed what would happen to the patient upon arrival and what the potential injuries and treatment would be. 

Next students were able to get behind the scenes in Mercy Medical Center's Operating Rooms and gain hands-on experience suturing pigs feet with the guidance of Dr. Heidi Beery, MD (Medical Doctor) and Morgan Petersen, FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner) from Evergreen Family Medicine. 

Then students ventured up to the lab at Mercy Medical Center and worked with Jacque Jones, MT (Medical Technologist) and Jean Walker from the Lane County Blood Bank to learn about how to type their blood and the importance of donating blood. 


The day wrapped up with a phenomenal presentation from Dr. Claire Stone, MD (Medical Doctor) from Mercy's lab presenting information on the requirements for schooling, a final panel with all of our professionals answering student questions, and all of the pre-health professional students discussing what going through school was like for them and what they wish they had known before entering their pre-health professional programs. 

We would like to thank everyone that was involved in making this day such a wonderful success. We had a dedicated planning committee, excellent healthcare professionals volunteering, wonderful community support, support from our local schools and educators, and support from the students in our program that also gave some time to volunteer for the event. 

We would like to acknowledge the following organizations and businesses for their support: 

Mercy Medical Center

Fire District 2

Evergreen Family Medicine

REACH Air Medical

Douglas County Partners for Student Success and the Umpqua Valley Regional STEAM hub

Crystal Creek Meats

Umpqua Community College's Nursing Program

Bright Works Oregon Healthcare Team

Healthcare Professionals: 

Heidi Beery, MD

Jennifer Bodenhamer, DO

Claire Stone, MD

Morgan Petersen, NP

Sarah Mahlberg, RN

Keith Neff, Flight Paramedic

Richard Lounsbury, Paramedic 

Nolan McGinnis, Paramedic

Jacque Jones, MT

Jean Walker, Lane County Blood Bank

Pre-Health Professional Students:

Natasha Kress

Sierra Smith

Hannah Harris

Keeley Hackett

Kayla Winston

Student Leaders and Actors:

Alyssa Longoria

Ben Seamans

Bodhi Looney

Christine Pons

Dylan Smith

Eli Cox

James Gugel

Maggie Cortez

Quinlan Morrow

Diagnosis Day Planning Committee Members:

Heidi Beery, MD, Evergreen Family Medicine

Ana Brar, Mercy Pharmacy Tech

Randy Chase, Community Volunteer/Retired Teacher

AJ Chitwood, Mercy Security

Michelle Kronner, Mercy Volunteer Director

Jennifer Ranger, Mercy Volunteer Department Assistant

Keith Neff, REACH flight paramedic

Lesa-Beth Titus, RN, Mercy Emergency Department

Katrina Sansom, Mercy Medical Center Billing

Rose Zoellner, AHECSW Program Director

AHECSW appreciates you!

Mercy Medical Center's Emergency Department Confirms an AHECSW's Intern's Passion for Healthcare

 Tuesday, March 31, 2015

During the last eight weeks, I had the opportunity to intern in Mercy’s emergency room. Each day, I headed to the ER happily anticipating what was to come. I was never disappointed. I was always treated with respect by the patients and staff, and I always had a good time. There was always something new for me to learn, something new for me to see. None of my questions went unanswered and each of the staff I worked with was eager to share their experiences with me.              

For the first four weeks in the E.R, I followed various registered nurses. I primarily worked with Erin Miller, following her as she made her nightly rounds. Everyone I met was kind and easy to work with. With the nurses, I was able to experience a lot of patient interaction and was even able to participate in some hands-on learning. They allowed me to practice taking patient vitals, assist with sticker placement of an EKG, assist with the transfer of patients from bed to bed, retrieve various tools, and plenty more. I always appreciated any opportunity to get to try something for myself. It was wonderful because I felt like one of the nurses as opposed to a student just observing when I was given tasks. However, I loved observing too. Everyday something new would come through the emergency room doors. Each nurse I worked with was determined to find something interesting for me to see. If they weren’t responsible for that patient, they’d find whomever was and connect me with them. On many occasions, I was able to see various procedures performed and various treatments put to use. 

The second four weeks interning in the E.R consisted of me following several physicians and physician assistants. I really appreciated each of them taking time out of their busy schedules to allow me to follow them around and ask questions. In particular, I worked with Rachel Barros (PA) on multiple occasions. I had a wonderful time working with her, watching different diagnostics and listening to her advice about college. While following Rachel and the other providers, I not only learned a lot, but I was able to experience more of the behind the scenes work and the diagnostics. Unlike the nurses, the physicians spend a majority of their time outside of the patient’s room, looking for a proper diagnosis and ordering various tests. During that process, I was able to read different x-rays and I was even shown how to read an EKG graph. I also observed the times they worked with patients. I was able to view different procedures including suturing and defibrillation. I spent time in the back, in triage, and in the RME. In each of these areas, I was exposed to multiple ailments and diseases. Overall, a lot more happened in the ER than I expected. What I loved most about the emergency room was the hard work put in by each employee. Despite the stress of such a job, it’s easy to see how much each of them love doing what they do. It’s that passion and dedication that has gotten me so excited to continue my path to becoming a healthcare provider myself.
Before this internship, I was unsure what I wanted to pursue, only knowing medicine was it for me. After interning in the emergency room, I have a clearer idea of what I’d like to do. I’ve always appreciated medicine and the workings of the human body, never really favoring one part over another. Working in the emergency room would give me the variety I so desire, while challenging me and allowing me to delve into the mystery of the body. I thank the providers in the emergency room that allowed me to follow them. Each of them gave me helpful advice and answered every question that came to mind, even questions I hadn’t thought to ask. I’m so excited to continue through this internship, having a clearer idea of a future profession, but still entirely open to something new.  My experience will only continue to get better from here and I will be sad to see it end.

Lane Healthcare Pathways Hosts Middle School Health Careers Fair

 Monday, March 30, 2015

AHECSW is an affiliate of the Lane Healthcare Pathways Program.This program reaches out to rural high schools and low-income communities, providing healthcare education opportunities to under-represented residents.
On March 12th, Lane Healthcare Pathways hosted a Middle School Health Careers Fair at the Oregon National Guard Readiness Center in Springfield. Approximately 150 students and 11 chaperones from 7 Lane County schools attended. We also had 13 teen volunteers from PeaceHealth and HOSA to help out with the event. 
The students enjoyed presentations representing health careers and education as well as community service and volunteer opportunities from 10 area organizations. In some cases, the presenters even pulled students up to participate in the demonstrations!

The presenters included:

  • Wesley Bryant, an Advanced EMT and firefighter from Coburg Fire District
  • Lizabeth Meza, Lane County Medical Examiner Technician
  • Red Cross First Aid Service Team (F.A.S.T.)
  • Tabetha Proctor, Office Manager at Dare 2 Care (a CNA training facility)
  • Jane Walker, Director of Hospital Services; Amber Baird, Component Lead Technician; and Cristel Herrera, Quality Assurance - all from Lane Blood Center
  • Bill Bartram, a Registered Nurse affiliated with Lane Healthcare Pathways
  • Lindsay Moffatt, a Respiratory Care student at Lane Community College
  • Rosa Maria Banuelos-Uribe with Lane Community College High School Connections
  • Natalie Morales and Leyla Kuz-Dworzak, both graduate student athletic trainers from theUniversity of Oregon Department of Human Physiology
  • Alicia Langlois, a Lane Healthcare Pathways Instructor with Lane Education Service District
  • Lane County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue (SAR) brought a team of volunteers to do a demonstration and talk about the gear they carry and the equipment they use in rescues.  

Bandon FHPO Student Job Shadows Health Organizations

 Thursday, March 05, 2015


This fall I took Northeast Oregon Area Health Education Center's (NEOAHEC) Future Health Professionals of Oregon (FHPO) college level class offered through Eastern Oregon University and AHECSW.  One of the class assignments was to do a job shadow for 12 hours in the career field of my choice.   I started by spending an entire day job shadowing Scott McEachern, the Executive Director of The Southern Coos Health Foundation.   He did a great job in explaining about his role between the hospital and the Foundation and then was able to take me to several meetings that he had scheduled for the day so that I could really get an idea of what his job entailed.  We first met with the CFO of Southern Coos Hospital who also oversees the Foundation’s finances.  The second meeting I got to sit in on was the leadership team meeting where the entire team gets together to discuss new things that are going on in their departments.  For the afternoon, I got to help research grants for the Foundation.  I learned that the main role of the Foundation was to bring money to the hospital, so grants are very important to them.  The next time I job shadowed, I was able to shadow most of the other hospital directors to better understand the differences of each position.  I found out that the Director of Nursing Services takes care of the nurses in the hospital, the Chief Financial Officer handles all of the money and works close with all of the accountants that work with the hospital, and that the CEO handles all personnel not in scrubs, as well as the hospital in general.  Mainly I learned that although each job is completely different from each other, they all come together to keep the hospital working efficiently.  An important thing that I learned from my time was that the healthcare is one of the best fields that anyone can go into since medical care is such a major part of everyone’s life.  There are so many job options to go into that you can easily do what you are passionate about, but that at the end of the day, everyone you work with has the same goal: to help everyone that comes into the hospital. 

For me personally, shadowing the different directors not only helped to shape my career goal, but also showed me many different paths available to me within my dream job of becoming a hospital CEO.  For example, the Director of Operations is currently in school, working her way to trying to become the CEO in the future and is able to fill in for the CEO when he is out.  I also learned that some of the other directors had worked as nurses before becoming part of the leadership team.  Learning that there are multiple paths to becoming the CEO was possibly the most important thing that I learned while shadowing. 

I also learned that there are several pros and cons of working in a rural vs. urban setting.  Getting to see firsthand how a rural hospital runs by not only getting to shadow but also growing up in a rural setting, I have decided that working in a rural hospital is at the top of my career goals.  I would love to someday be able to come back to Bandon and become the CEO of the hospital here.  I am very excited to see how well I succeed in this goal.  I really feel like job shadowing has opened my eyes and mind about the health care field and the many different job opportunities it has for me.         

~Liza-May Skeie

Mercy Medical Center's Radiology Department Mentors and Inspires AHECSW Intern Benjamyn Seamans

 Thursday, March 05, 2015

For the past eight weeks, I have been given the opportunity to work in the Imaging Department at Mercy Medical Center. Imaging has been a passion of mine for a number of years now and this internship has given me great insight into the roles of administrators, radiologist, RPA’s, ultrasound technicians, x-ray technicians, and patients. I found that many of the employees who have professions in  Imaging are extremely dedicated and this fact has impacted me in a way that I would have never imagined. 
During my first few weeks I spent the majority of my time in the ultrasound department observing studies. The ultrasound department was amazing and the staff never failed to make me laugh— I felt as if I was immediately part of the team. Week after week I would appear in the ultrasound department constantly scanning the board to determine what I would see that day. Often the acronyms “ART, LOWER VEN, or CAR” would appear on the board and I would cringe at the thought at standing in a dark room for sixty minutes while watching the sonographer scan. However, I learned to dig deeper and I found that if I devoted attention to the study then it was actually quite interesting! 
About half way through my term I was given the opportunity to follow Jenn, an RPA. Jenn was phenomenal— she was extremely devoted to my education. Jenn has become a mentor, friend, and inspiration of mine. She was always willing to share her journey with me, as well as, her procedures! Jenn performed many procedures and I loved them all! While I was with Jenn I was given the opportunity to observe para’s, thora’s, liver biopsies, a cartilage biopsy, and an arthrogram. Jenn has strongly encouraged me to become a Radiologist and I would be lying if I said that I don’t consider it. Radiology is a strong interest of mine and I am most definitely considering this as a career path. 
I would like to recognize Sonja P. and Teresa A. I have been working with Sonja for quite some time now and I appreciate her greatly. Sonja manages the imaging office and I have been blessed with the opportunity to volunteer with her staff. Sonja has been more than willing to work with my internship schedule and for that I am grateful. Teresa is “Queen of Imaging.” Teresa does anything and everything and I love that! Teresa was constantly inviting me to come in and observe procedures on my days off— she is awesome! 
The relationships I have formed in the imaging department are never ending. I love this department and I love the staff. After graduation I plan on applying for a position in the Imaging Department at Mercy Medical Center.
- Benjamyn Seamans, Umpqua Valley Christian School, grade 12

Umpqua Community Health Center Offers an AHECSW Intern Unique Cultural Experiences and Learning Opportunities in Healthcare

 Thursday, February 12, 2015

I began the AHECSW internship eight weeks ago and I’ve had a wonderful experience so far. My first rotation has been at Umpqua Community Health Center (UCHC). At UCHC, I’ve had the opportunity to work with two nurse practitioners; Christopher Gessel (FNP) and Logan Cutts (FNP). I spend my time following Chris or Logan during their appointments with patients. This way I get patient interaction and experience. UCHC is a low-income clinic, with a diverse patient population. Throughout my rotation, I’ve worked with many different people, becoming more familiar with different cultures. 
On one occasion, I had the experience of sitting in on an appointment with a patient who only spoke Spanish. The entire appointment consisted of the nurse practitioner and patient talking back and forth in Spanish. Having taken two years of Spanish, I was able to understand some of it, but a lot of it was too quick and hard to understand. Despite that, it was an interesting experience and I’m glad I was able to be a part of it! 
The two providers I follow also allow me to experience more than just standing in the room and listening. Under their supervision and with patient permission, I've had the opportunity to listen to the heart and lungs of different patients, like those of a smoker or ones with heart murmurs or failures. This has allowed me to hear unusual sounds and to learn just what those sounds mean. While interacting with patients, I’ve also had the opportunity to practice taking their pulse and blood pressure. I’ve become more comfortable taking these vitals. I’ve also been able to feel a hernia, a cyst, and a leg tumor. It’s been really interesting learning the concepts of these ailments and being able to see them first hand. I’ve also been able to watch different procedures done by the nurse practitioners. I’ve seen injections, removals, and wound-care. I’ve learned a lot from watching these procedures and have been able to assist the providers by getting different supplies. It’s been really fun. 
 During my time at UCHC, each of the providers have gone the extra step to thoroughly explain what was going on. Both Logan and Chris made sure I understood and always asked if I had any additional questions. They’d  then happily answer any question(s) I had. I really appreciated them going out of their way to teach me. In addition, because of them and other providers at UCHC, I’ve become more familiar with different medical terminology. I’ve learned the difference between controlled and uncontrolled substances, some of the roots to different medications available, and the meaning to some of the universal medical abbreviations. It has been overwhelming at times, but always interesting. 
I’ve had such a good time learning these different things. My eight weeks at UCHC have been unforgettable. I’ve learned so much and have had the opportunity to work with such amazing providers. They all really love their job and they’ve all increased my excitement of becoming a provider myself.

Thanks, Christine Pons.

Teen Volunteers in Coos County Have New Learning Opportunities

 Thursday, January 29, 2015

New learning opportunities have been happening for Coos County students in the form of monthly meetings for the teen volunteers at Bay Area Hospital and in the Bandon area and they are quickly becoming a huge hit with great attendance, although one student from the first meeting decided that "we need to get a lot more people involved!!”

In November, students attended a meeting at Bandon High School where they learned about the Medical Imaging Department and different imaging specialties at Southern Coos Hospital and Health Center from Imaging Manager Bill Taylor, R.T. (R) ARRT. They also participated in an activity that helped them learn about lung capacity and things that might impede it, as well as learned about some of the different programs and possibilities offered in the area. One student commented that the meeting “was very well put together, on time, and fun.”

January saw more student volunteers at Bay Area Hospital learning about keeping healthy with germ warfare and identifying different HIPPA violations. With heart health month coming up in February, students were introduced to Dr. Seth Giri, of the Cardiology Department at Bay Area Hospital, who shared a wealth of information not only about heart health, but also about his path to becoming a Cardiologist and some of his other accomplishments. Marshfield Student Brett Wyatt described the presentation as “thoughtful and very intriguing, insightful and complete…kinda touched upon some areas that you usually don’t get to hear from a doctor.”

PeaceHealth's Outstanding Teen Volunteer

 Friday, January 23, 2015

Jennifer Carpenter is a PeaceHealth Teen Volunteer in Lane County. She has been volunteering since July 2014 and has already accumulated over 131 Volunteer Hours. Jennifer or "Ginny" as we affectionately call her, is an outstanding Teen Volunteer.  She volunteers 3 days a week in Materials Management making hospital deliveries, sorting and delivering mail and assisting with general clean up and organization of the department. Jill Day, Teen Volunteer Coordinator, shared this about Jennifer's outstanding performance, "Ginny has a positive attitude, is always smiling and friendly and ready to take on any task she is given. Ginny has been invaluable as a new Teen Volunteer trainer. I can ALWAYS count on her to help to orient new Teens assigned to the unit." 

When reflecting on her time volunteering with PeaceHealth, Jennifer shared that she really enjoys the opportunity to help and the influence it makes on her life. She also loves the people she volunteers with. Jennifer shared, "Everyone in Materials Management is full of great personalities. My Supervisor Brandi has made such an impact on me! She is always there for me, she is honest and kind-hearted. I could not ask for a better person to be my Supervisor."

When asked where Jennifer sees herself in the future, she said, "Graduating High School and going to medical school to become a Cardiovascular Surgeon." AHECSW is proud to recognize the wonderful students in our region providing important volunteer services in the healthcare field. We would like to commend Jennifer on making positive connections with her local healthcare professionals early on and gaining valuable experience now to help support her as she works towards pursuing a healthcare career. We can't wait to hear more about what Jennifer does in the future!


Quinlan Morrow's time with Dr. Alanson Randol and Mercy Institute of Rehabiliation

 Wednesday, January 14, 2015

For the first term of my internship, I am interning at Mercy Institute of Rehabilitation (MIR) and Dr. Randol's office. As an intern at MIR, I shadow physical therapists (PTs) and occupational therapists (OTs) for two days on the ten week term. I follow around the therapists with their patients and am encouraged to ask questions, and I am occasionally given tasks such as grabbing something or wiping down equipment. During my time at MIR, I have learned about the educational requirements of being a PT and OT, the day-to-day operations of the therapists and the rehabilitation center as a whole, the diagnoses of patients, and patient treatment plans. The more common diagnoses I have worked with are back, shoulder, and knee pain, replacement surgeries (knee, shoulder, and hip), and side effects of arthritis.

My first day at MIR had me immediately working, and by the next week I had seen a fairly rare case and the electric stimulation treatment that came with it. That case was one of the most interesting that I have experienced in the internship. The PT even used the piece of equipment that delivers the shock on me. It was fascinating to see how technology, physics, chemistry, and anatomy all work together to treat patients. After interning here for six weeks, I have often worked with repeat patients. This is one of my favorite things about therapy! I love being able to watch people visibly improve and be able to know the patients beyond their injuries.

Though it is very different from MIR, I also am interning at Dr. Randol's dental practice this term. I work there one day a week for eight weeks, but in that short amount of time I have seen a wide variety of diagnoses. Every time I am at Dr. Randol's office I always see something new and exciting. The first Thursday there was extremely busy, and I was able to watch Dr. Randol fill about three cavities, watch an impression, see patients with complications, and observe as Dr. Randol had usual check-ups. Since then, I have seen crowns, a root canal, more fillings, deep cleanings, gum readings, typical cleanings, and a denture implantation. Here, I often shadow Dr. Randol, but I have also worked with the dental hygienists and dental assistants.

At both of my sites, I love the work environment. All of the employees are easy to work with, there are no conflicts, and MIR's and Dr. Randol's employees are so closely knit that they seem like families. Both sites are very willing and excited to answer all of my questions, and they explain their actions and treatment plans so that I can completely understand. I greatly appreciate everyone at MIR and Dr. Randol's office for being so helpful and willing to have me there! I can't wait to continue interning at my sites and for my future sites!

~ Quinlan Morrow, Grade 12, Roseburg High School