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Aspiring Healthcare Providers Participate in Bright Works Academy Camp

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.

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