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Aspiring Healthcare Providers Participate in Bright Works Academy Camp

 Tuesday, August 23, 2016










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

Meet the Academy Students 


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






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

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

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

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

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


The Academy Experience

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

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

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

Gratitude for Community Support

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











CTE Summer Camps - Register Now!

 Thursday, May 19, 2016

Click on the links below to register for a CTE Summer Camp!!!

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

MedChamps Registration Link:

Contact: Lacey Ferguson, Education Coordinator Email:

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

Healthcare Exposure Camp Registration Link:

Contact: Tawnie Kennedy, High School Coordinator Email:

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

Bright Works Academy Registration Link:

Contact: Lacey Ferguson, Education Coordinator Email:

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 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. 



 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 




Meet AHECSW's High School Healthcare Interns 2015-16

 Tuesday, October 20, 2015
 This year AHECSW had 12 students apply for our high school healthcare internship program (HSHIP). Students applying to this program had to fill out an electronic application, submit three essay questions, and those that made it past the essay questions were invited to participate in a panel interview. In addition to our previous requirements, we had our four interns participate in our summer leadership program which included career exposure, professionalism development, health-related training, and participation in a community health project. Students were required to spend a minimum of 20 hours over the summer participating in this program and in addition to the summer leadership program our interns participated in more advance health-related training for an additional 16 hours. Four students made it through the rigorous application and training process and AHECSW is excited to introduce to you to our class of 2015-16 for the HSHIP program.

Abby Lyons is a senior at Yoncalla High School and she hopes to attend Brigham Young University after she graduates to obtain her bachelor's degree in nursing. Abby has plans to continue her education to help her meet her ultimate goal of becoming a nurse practitioner. Abby knows that healthcare is the pathway that she wants to pursue, but through this program she hopes to explore all of her options to help her determine that this is the medical degree that she wants to obtain and the career pathway that will be the best fit for her. 
Abby has started her first term at Dr. Alanson Randol's office.When reflecting on her first week she described it as "amazing". On her first day she worked with a dental hygienist, Nora. "I observed Nora  as she cleaned three patients' teeth. Nora explained to me what she was doing the entire time and I loved it! I watched her do perio charting, which is where they look at how far the gums are from the bone of the tooth and they put it into the computer. I met Dr. Randol too and he was really nice! I really enjoyed my first week with the office and I can't wait to see what I get to do in the upcoming weeks." 

Dylan Smith is a senior at Roseburg High School. Dylan has proven his passion for medicine through volunteering at his local hospital, job shadowing, and attending various presentations and events held by healthcare professionals to learn more about the different career pathways. Dylan hopes to attend the University of Montana after graduation, but would eventually like to make it back to the Pacific NW to obtain his graduate medical education at OHSU. Dylan is interested in becoming a physician, but is still exploring what fields interest him the most. 

Dylan is spending his first term with the Shaw Heart Center at Mercy Medical Center. After his first week there Dylan shared his perspective on working with the heart center team. "The staff are extremely kind and everyone has their own duty. They all work extremely well together and strongly believe in teamwork. I never had to ask many questions because most of the staff would inform me of everything before I could ask, which I found enjoyable. I love the Heart Center so far because the staff themselves love their job and it is visible by their attitude and the way they do things. My first week in the Shaw Heart Center was absolutely amazing. On my first day I watched a pacemaker get put in by by Dr. Tripuraneni and it was very interesting."

Emma Myers is a junior at Douglas High School.She has been preparing for her future in medicine by volunteering at her local hospital, job shadowing various medical professionals, and attending healthcare career presentations. When she is not focused on working on something directly healthcare related she’s participating in various clubs within her school including Science Olympiad and Mathletes. Emma hopes this experience will help her answer questions like, “Is this a work environment I would enjoy?”, “What makes the people in this field passionate about their work?”, “What is there about this field of medicine that I enjoy?” and more. Once she graduates high school she plans to pursue her undergraduate degree in biology and then after that is completed she plans to complete a graduate program based on which field of microbiology has captured her heart in the end. 

Emma is spending her first term with Dr. Thomas Leech's office and the Weston Eye Center. During Emma's first week with Dr. Leech she had the unique opportunity to observe patient appointments. A highlight from the first week for her was " A patient whose appointment I was given the privilege of sitting in on suffered from glaucoma. Glaucoma is a disease where there is too much pressure inside of someone's eye. This is caused either by an individual's eye either producing too much vicious humor or their eye not filtering out the vicious humor fast enough. This particular patient had lost a majority of their peripheral vision in their left eye due to the damage caused to their optic nerve from the glaucoma. I learned a lot not just from these particular case studies though. Dr. Leech also gave me the opportunity to ask questions about his equipment and methods.Overall I found it to be an extremely enriching experience and I cannot wait to go back to his office next week so that I can learn even more."

Stella Moon is a senior at Roseburg High School. Her passion for serving in medicine has been reflected in many different activities throughout her community. Stella volunteers at her local hospital, is an active volunteer member of an AHECSW medical volunteer program, and attends medical career days and camps. Her favorite classes in school include AP/CC Calculus and Advanced Chemistry. After she graduates Stella hopes to graduate from a liberal arts college and medical school, most likely as a biochemistry major. She hopes to be serving a rural community in the future as a specialized doctor, pursuing her dream of helping a small town.  

Stella is spending her first term with the Mercy Institute of Rehabilitation. She started off her first week meeting a wide variety of professionals within the department including technicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and the office staff. "On my first day, I shadowed a technician and learned the procedures related to her job. I also shadowed two physical therapists who dealt with patients with back or leg injuries and an occupational therapist who worked with a wrist injury. I feel like I have adapted well to my site and I am excited for the weeks to come."

The HSHIP program is going into its fourth year and we are thrilled to welcome our new class of students. We can't wait to see what this year's interns accomplish. Congratulations Abby, Dylan, Emma, and Stella! Your hard work and passion for pursuing a healthcare career have paid off! Welcome to the AHECSW family!

BWO Programs Shine Bright in Douglas County

 Monday, September 14, 2015

Fall has arrived and the AHECSW staff is preparing for another busy academic year. We are excited about the new adventures that 2015-2016 will bring and would like to reflect on some of our successes from the 2014-2015 programs. AHECSW had the opportunity to work alongside some key partners that helped us to further develop and evaluate our programs to define a direction for 2015-2016. We had the opportunity to see some of the feedback put to work over the summer with our summer leadership program. 

The programs in Douglas County were able to reach more youth, work with more schools, increase student's exposure to more healthcare career pathway options, and increase student knowledge, skills, and preparedness to be accepted in post-secondary healthcare education programs. Here are some highlights from our 2014-15 program year. 

¨  Sixty (60) high schools students from ten different high schools in Douglas County participated in our programs.  Of that total amount, fifteen (15) high school students from the summer program obtained their healthcare provider CPR certification. 

¨ The internship program completed its third year. We have had ten (10) students graduate from the program and of the ten (10), nine (9) students have been accepted and are enrolled in college courses to pursue healthcare career pathways.

¨ Our students completed six (6) community health projects. That engaged 563 community members, allowed students to complete two (2) health focused videos and they submitted two (2) articles to the News Review on their projects that were published.

¨ We have had nine (9) healthcare pathway college students participate in presenting and mentoring high school students as well as assisting with program development. We were able to hire three (3) college graduates from that group. One (1) has been accepted to OHSU and two (2) are planning to apply. All students were graduates from Douglas County high schools.

¨  Sixty-five (65) healthcare professionals participated in the programs through presentations, hosting students, and providing resources and advising for program development. Fourteen (14) professionals from other industries related to health or education additionally offered support and advising for program projects , curriculum development , and events.

 Thirty-two (32) percent of the students enrolled in our program this year met the criteria to be considered disadvantaged due to financial situation or being the first in their family to attend college. We had a diverse group of students this year and had wonderful feedback from professionals on their engagement, interest levels, and professionalism. The support from the community and our key partners helped to guide these students and ignite their passion for healthcare and healthy communities. Every presentation, healthcare mentor, volunteer, and resource provided truly has made a difference in our community and in our programs.

Heading in this next year we hope to be able to expand our opportunities, connect with more youth, increase our resources and tools to continue to help to continue to build a strong healthcare workforce pipeline in Douglas County by focusing on our students and providing them with the skills and opportunities that will help them thrive in this field. We would like to recognize some of our major contributors, partners, and supporters for 2014-15 as we move into this next phase! We are thankful for their involvement! 

Program Sponsors: Student Scholarships and Projects

Umpqua Valley Regional STEAM Hub & Douglas County Partners for Student Success ATRIO
DA Davidson Companies
Architrave Health LLC
Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians
Mercy Medical Center

High School Healthcare Internship Supporters (HSHIP)

Community Cancer Center
Countryside Veterinary Service
Dr. Alanson Randol, DDS
Douglas County Fire District No. 2
Mercy Medical Center
-Emergency Department,
-Mercy Institute of Rehabilitation
-Oregon Surgery Center
- Radiology
-Shaw Heart Center
Roseburg Foot & Ankle Specialists- Dr. Kash Siepert and Dr. Cordell Smith
Umpqua Community Health Center

Bright Works Oregon Healthcare Team (BWO)

- Elaine Cheney, NP
City of Roseburg Fire Department
-Waylon Faulkner
Community Cancer Center
-Angelia Freeman, BSB/A
-Tammy Hagedorn, BBA, RT(R)(T)
Douglas County Public Health Department
Robin P. Stalcup
Evergreen Family Medicine
-Dr. Charlie Ross, DO
Mercy Medical Center
-Jacque Jones, MT- Mercy Lab
-Kim Turner, Registered Dietician
-Michelle Kronner, Director of Volunteer Services
South River Community Health Center
-Angela Olson-----MA
-Cora Platt-----Psychologist
-Courtney McLeod-----FNP
-Jonathan Russell-----PA
- Michael Fernandez- Crossroads Counselor and Outreach Coordinator
-Nicole Fullmer----Front Office Manager
-Skyler Meyer-----FNP
Community Health and Project Partners
-Bike Walk Roseburg
-Douglas County YMCA
-Mercy Medical Center Foundation
-South River Community Health Center
-Westside Community Garden & Umpqua Valley Disabilities Network
-Winston Oregon Park Board

Bright Works Oregon Summer Leadership Program 
Andy Hatfield- Douglas County Fire District No. 2
Dr. Charlie Ross, DO- Evergreen Family Medicine

Dr. Greg Valle- Weston  Eye Center
Randy Chase- Retired High School Science Teacher
Robert Dunas- Mercy Medical Center
Robin P. Stalcup- Douglas County Public Health
Umpqua Community College Nursing Students
Wild Life Safari Veterinary Staff

Diagnosis Day

Douglas County Partners for Student Success and the Umpqua Valley Regional STEAM Hub 
Mercy Medical Center 
Douglas County Fire District 2 
Evergreen Family Medicine 
REACH Air Medical 
Crystal Creek Meats 
Umpqua Community College's Nursing Program 

Trauma Day Healthcare Professionals:
Dr. Heidi Beery, MD 
Dr. Jennifer Bodenhamer, DO 
Dr. Claire Stone, MD
Jacque Jones, MT 
Jean Walker, Lane County Blood Bank 
Keith Neff, Flight Paramedic
Morgan Petersen, NP 
Nolan McGinnis, Paramedic
Richard Lounsbury, Paramedic
Sarah Mahlberg, RN 

Cardiac Day Healthcare Professionals:
Erin Rice, NP
Justin Moon, Ultrasound Technician
Kathleen Ross, RN
Greg Schulze, RN
Keith Neff, Flight Paramedic, REACH Air Medical

Pre-Health Professional Students: 
Hannah Harris 
Keeley Hackett 
Kayla Winston 
Natasha Kress 
Sierra Smith 

Diagnosis Day Planning Committee Members: 
Ana Brar, Mercy Pharmacy Tech and OHSU Medical Student
AJ Chitwood, Mercy Security
Dr. Heidi Beery, MD, Evergreen Family Medicine 
Jason Duval, Pre-Health College Student
Jennifer Ranger, Mercy Volunteer Department Assistant 
Keith Neff, REACH flight paramedic 
Katrina Sansom, Mercy Medical Center Billing
Lesa-Beth Titus, RN, Mercy Emergency Department 
Lucas Short, Pre- Health College Student
Michelle Kronner, Mercy Volunteer Director

Randy Chase, Community Volunteer/Retired Teacher 

Extension Program and Statewide Opportunities:
College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific Northwest
Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU)

New Partners 2015-16:

Dr. Thomas Leech, O.D.
Phoenix Charter School
More coming soon....