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Lane County Student Finds Their Passion In Healthcare

 Thursday, May 28, 2015

My name is Reagan Weiland. I have been a student at Oakridge since I was in pre-school and I have really grown to love my small community. I have worked so hard the last four years of high school and I am so excited to start the next phase of my life; the Lane Healthcare Pathways grant has made this dream a reality.

I would like to be a surgeon. Participating in a surgery would be a thrill. Not the kind of thrill that skydiving would give you, but the kind of thrill you receive from changing a person’s life.  For some procedures, the surgeon literally holds the patient’s life in their hands. I am hoping that I get to observe an operation when I go to MedQuest this summer. This is a week-long medical camp that is being offered at Eastern Oregon University for which I will receive college credit, and I have received a full scholarship to attend.

I haven’t always planned on entering the medical field. When I was in the fifth grade, I wanted to be a storm chaser, because I watched the movie Twister and found it inspiring. Needless to say, I have moved past that phase. What really sparked my interest in the medical field was actually my own medical problems. In the fifth grade I was diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter’s disease, which is a disease in the bones usually caused by growing too fast. This slowed me down a little but I didn’t let it limit me or all the stuff I wanted to do. Then in junior high I got infectious mononucleosis. As if that wasn’t enough,I then had a severe reaction from it that caused hard painful nodules to form in the tissue in my legs and arms. This totally took my legs out of commission for about two months; I will never take walking for granted again. Then my freshman year I tore some tissue in my already bad knee and had to have corrective surgery. Then sophomore year I tore up my shoulder and had months of physical therapy. And last year I had an autoimmune disease that caused my joints to lock up and paralysis in my hands; obviously this affected everything I did, including school work, another thing I will never take for granted. Clearly I have had a rough go at things, but I have had many different medical teams backing me up and getting me back to as good as new. I want nothing more than to return the favor. It is my turn to help someone and make a difference in their life.

Last year when I heard a presentation about the opportunity to get to do a number of medical related things for free, I thought why not. This year I was chosen to receive a scholarship to attend Emergency Medical Responder training. I had so much fun, and I realized that the medical field is where I belong. I now use those skills as a volunteer firefighter and EMS personnel with my local fire department. Through the fire department I also went through my Emergency Vehicle Operations Course, so once my 90-day probation is over I will get to drive the ambulance and respond to calls.  I was also very excited to get to take Anatomy and Physiology, and Medical Terminology College Now courses this year, meaning I will get college credit from them. My Spanish 5 class is also a College Now course this year. I just finished the Administrative Medical Office Procedure program and I am also currently taking Lane’s Phlebotomy 1 course; as well as the RTEC Program, a college and career preparation course. The RTEC Program is going to pay for me to take a couple of classes this summer. I am hoping to be able to participate in a Co-op. By doing so I would get to work at a local clinic where I have done many job shadows to get more work experience and college credit.

This summer I am going to finish my Phlebotomy 2 course and get my certificate. I would also like to try to go through basic EMT training at Lane as well. I plan to enroll at Concorde Career College and go through the Surgical Technician program. While I go through school I would like to work as a phlebotomist and/or an EMT. Once I have worked for a year I would like to take the National Board Examination so that I will be licensed to work as a phlebotomist anywhere in the country. Concorde Career College works directly with Riverbend Hospital, so that is a good chance I would at least do on the job training there. Once I am working in surgery, I may realize that I want to specialize in a specific surgery or want to work my way up to be the head surgeon, the possibilities are endless! The medical field isn’t just my calling, it has chosen me.

Douglas County Students Complete Community Health Projects

 Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Area Health Education Center of Southwest Oregon (AHECSW) is proud to feature some of the incredible student projects that were completed this year by our AHECSW High School Healthcare Interns and our two local chapters for the Bright Works Oregon Healthcare Team. AHECSW has a chapter that has been established in Roseburg at the Roseburg YMCA and a Winston chapter that has been established at South River Community Health Center. These projects were student designed and implemented, and required the support of many of our local community partners that are also invested in the future health of their community. 

The AHECSW High School Interns implemented a project at Fir Grove Elementary and Lookingglass Elementary to encourage 3rd and 4th grade students to increase their physical activity and make healthier choices. Quinlan Morrow, one of the interns, wrote an article about the project and submitted it to the News Review. Follow this link to learn more about what they did: AHECSW Internship Project 2014-15

The Bright Works Oregon Roseburg Chapter wanted to raise awareness around community health resources in Douglas County. They are putting on a "Healthy Market and Community Scavenger Hunt" on May 30 and they also created this video: Bright Works Oregon Roseburg Chapter Video 2014-15. The students in this program wrote the script, helped direct, and acted in their video. They were also able to raise $1750.00 in sponsorships to put on their event and they recruited community partners to participate. 

The Bright Works Oregon Winston Chapter wanted to increase use and encourage improvements in their community for outdoor recreation to increase access to locations within their community for physical activity. They are still recruiting community partners, have approached the local parks board, and are working closely with South River Community Health Center to help move their project forward. They have plans to do a clean up date tentatively scheduled on July 10 and plan to assist the Douglas County Public Health Department in a project that will raise awareness around tobacco use and impacts. They have almost completed their video and plan to add more local partners to their project. The current version of their video can be accessed here: Bright Works Oregon Winston Chapter Video 2014-15

AHECSW is amazed at the strong work ethic and the accomplishments of the youth in our Douglas County programs for the 2014-15 year. We would like to recognize the partners that have helped provide resources, information, and support: 

Internship and Bright Works Oregon Project Partners:

Mercy Medical Center
Cow Creek
South River Community Health Center
Douglas County Public Health
Douglas County Partners for Student Success (DCPSS) & Umpqua Valley Regional STEAM Hub (UVRST)
Roseburg YMCA
Westside Community Garden of Roseburg & Umpqua Valley Disabilities Network
Umpqua Community Veg Education Group
Bike Walk Roseburg
Umpqua Valley Farmer's Market
Mercy Institute of Rehabilitation
Mercy Foundation Health Kids Outreach Program
Fire District No. 2
City of Roseburg Fire Department
Lookingglass Fire Department
FSC Crossfit

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.”