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Future Pre-Med Students Gain Valuable Experience as Medical Scribes

 Tuesday, October 25, 2016


Left Photo: Lucas Short charts information as Dr. Laurance Choate examines mock-patient Whitney Carnahan, an employee of Umpqua Community Health Center

An Innovative Program: ReConnect Scribes

In June 2016, the Area Health Education Center of Southwest Oregon (AHECSW) launched a new program called ReConnect Scribes. This unique, 14 month program is aimed at college graduates who have completed a bachelor’s degree, but are in their “gap year” between undergraduate school and higher level healthcare programs, such as medical school, physician assistant school, or nurse practitioner school. Our program places college graduates in medical scribe positions in our community. A medical scribe is a person who does all charting during physician-patient appointments in real time, as physicians are treating their patients. This is a great advantage to a physician, as it saves them from having copious amounts of charting to complete after seeing patients all day. Currently, our scribes are working full-time for the physicians at the Umpqua Community Health Center (UCHC).

While recruiting and interviewing candidates for this program, AHECSW focused on students who have a desire to work in rural healthcare settings with an underserved population. The goal is that students who participate in this program return to underserved areas to practice upon completion of their advanced medical degrees. Once scribes were hired, AHECSW provided Scribe training for them through a specialized training program called Scribe University. This allowed scribes to be as prepared as possible as they began their new positions at UCHC. Scribes began working at UCHC in June of this year and will work through July of 2017.

In addition to working full-time at the clinic, scribes are dedicating several hours a week in support of our Bright Works Oregon after-school program for high school students. Currently, scribes are working on developing case studies or “mock patient” scenarios that will be used in our Bright Works curriculum later this year. Scribes will also attend Bright Works chapter meetings and interact with high school students on case studies and college preparation activities. 

Audrey Taylor prepares labwork in-between appointmentsRight Photo: Audrey Taylor prepares lab-work in between seeing patients

Each of the scribes are currently preparing to attend advanced medical programs. Michael Graham, a graduate of Oregon State University, is preparing for Physician Assistant (PA) school. Michael aspires to begin a PA program next summer and has interviews at Oregon Health & Science University and Pacific University. Scribes Audrey Taylor and Jaide Farr are both making headway in their preparations for medical school by taking the Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT. Audrey completed her first attempt at the MCAT in September and Jaide will be taking the test in January 2017. Our fourth scribe, Lucas Short is currently considering which medical schools he will apply to and hopes to stay on the west coast for medical school.

Thus far, the program has been a resounding success for both the scribe students, as well as the physicians at UCHC. Dr. Chip Taylor, a family physician at UCHC, says “Having a scribe in the exam room changes the entire encounter in a very positive manner. After 20 years of typing in the exam room I can now return to the days when I sat close to the patient with my hands in my lap and my eyes focused on them attending to their concerns with undivided attention… at the end of the day, my notes are mostly done and I have less paperwork. The fact that the scribes come from rural Oregon is a real positive point for my patients who enjoy having my scribe in the encounter; many patients have taken a real interest in these future healthcare professionals by asking at subsequent encounters how their tests, interviews, and so-forth are coming as they progress in their professional education.”

According to Dr. Jay Richards, the Family Practice & Medical Director of UCHC, “the scribes have become a critical part of our care teams. The providers have all been very impressed with their abilities. They have also taken on process improvement tasks and training to do medical assistant duties, which gives them more hands-on patient care. This experience has provided them a better understanding of routine primary care and allows them a better informed decision as they apply for post graduate training. We are excited to expand the program to hire more scribes for next year.”

Photo Left: Michael Graham scribes for Dr. Chip Taylor at the Sutherlin clinic

When asked about his experiences in this program, scribe Michael Graham said “The scribe program has afforded me the opportunity to learn and grow as a healthcare professional in more ways than I had initially thought possible. Being in a rural federally qualified health clinic, I see numerous barriers to healthcare that individuals in a rural community face that I had previously only read about in textbooks. My position at UCHC in Sutherlin has allowed me to begin to think critically as a provider and to fully gauge my interest in working with the rural community as a PA. Each day I get the opportunity to practice humility, service, understanding, patience and empathy as I both listen to and interact with patients. The lessons I am learning both personally and professionally will serve to make me a better provider and, more importantly, a better person.”

Seeing the program become a success so quickly has prompted plans for future expansion. AHECSW plans to continue placing scribes at UCHC next summer, as well as to form new partnerships with other providers in Douglas County who could benefit from a program such as this. Marketing this unique scribe program will play a significant role in next year’s recruitment success. AHECSW will be reaching out to colleges and universities across the northwest to inform aspiring pre-med students of this opportunity. AHECSW is proud to cooperate with community partners, such as UCHC, to grow this scribe program in Douglas County. The ultimate reward would be to see these individuals return to Douglas County after medical school to provide quality healthcare in our rural community.


Photo Left: Jaide Farr prepares to chart information for Dr. Joseph Amavisca




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. 


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....

Meet Our Douglas County Pre-Health Advisors

 Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Area Health Education Center of Southwest Oregon (AHECSW) recently hired two pre-health professional advisers to over see our Douglas County Bright Works Oregon Healthcare Team Summer Leadership Program. Both advisers recently graduated college and have plans to pursue graduate level education for their desired healthcare professions. This summer they will be mentoring and training students on skills that are pertinent to the healthcare workforce along with some educational trips and hands-on opportunities such as anatomy lessons paired with dissection, suturing, learning basic vitals, and getting students CPR certified. Our center is thrilled to have them on board for the summer, please continue to read on to learn a little more about Jason Duval and Lucas Short. 

Jason Duval is a fourth year honors undergraduate student at Oregon State University majoring in Biology and minoring in Chemistry. He holds a 3.78 cumulative GPA and is extremely active in his community through his volunteer work at his local Habitat for Humanity, Humane Society, and Jackson Street Youth Shelter. Jason has proven his passion for medicine through volunteering at Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg throughout three years of high school, attending career days annually held at OSU, volunteering for blood drives, shadowing physicians, and participating in events put on by the Bioethics Society. He is currently working on his Honors Thesis covering the different aspects of interactions between patients who are terminally ill and their primary physicians. Some of his favorite subjects in college include anatomy and organic chemistry. He is also in strong support of living a healthy lifestyle and remains active by competing in several long-distance cross country races with his team Run Portland in the fall and running off season in his free time. 

Lucas Short is a University of Oregon graduate who received degrees in both Biology and Anatomy and Physiology. Lucas intends to apply to a MD, DO, or PA program within the state of Oregon in the coming year. Presently, Lucas is completing a phlebotomy certification program at Umpqua Community College and is working with the Area Health Education Center of Southwest Oregon.  Lucas hopes that the opportunities afforded by his completion of the phlebotomy program and his work with AHEC will give him experience in both a clinical and community health settings. His goals this summer will be to create a positive experience for the youth he works with and to help them complete an informative project for their community. 

AHECSW is thrilled to have Jason and Lucas join our team and our high school students are equally appreciative! Welcome Jason and Lucas, thank you for your commitment to working in healthcare field and mentoring rural students.