ReConnect Gap-Year Fellowship Receives Grant from the Oregon Medical Education Foundation (OMEF)
Updated: Feb 5
In June 2019, the Area Health Education Center of Southwest Oregon (AHECSW) received its second grant from the Oregon Medical Education Foundation (OMEF) in the amount of $25,000 to further develop and expand the ReConnect Scribe program. The OMEF is a charitable organization that was formed by the Oregon Medical Association in 1961 and is dedicated to the advancement of medical science through educational programs and initiatives. This organization is funded by the generosity of physicians, physician assistants, and medical practitioners across the state of Oregon. The ReConnect Scribe program was also awarded a $25,000 grant from OMEF in the summer of 2017.
This grant will continue to fund the expansion and promotion of the ReConnect Scribe Program, which has been in existence since Spring 2016. ReConnect Scribe targets pre-health post-baccalaureate graduates who are preparing to apply to higher-level medical programs, such as medical, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner programs. The current goal is to expand the ReConnect Scribe program into additional rural clinics, starting with the southwest counties of Oregon. Thus far, ReConnect Scribes has been exclusively placing students at Aviva Health (formerly Umpqua Community Health Center) in Roseburg. Through our partnership with Aviva Health, the program has developed and evolved into a thriving model for preparing and growing the future workforce of rural healthcare practitioners. The next step is to expand and replicate this model in additional clinics or Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) in southwest Oregon.
In addition to expanding the number of clinical sites for ReConnect Scribes, grant funding will be used to bolster and improve recruitment strategies to gain more prospective ReConnect candidates.
One of the findings discovered through the duration of the program is that candidates who are most likely to apply for ReConnect Scribe positions are individuals who have grown up or graduated high school in the region the clinic serves in. Of the 15 ReConnect Scribes who have participated in our program since it began, 12 graduated high school in Douglas County. This reveals a need to strategically recruit within a region to place candidates at a host site in that region. The AHECSW and ReConnect program staff will be working on building a system to identify potential future rural providers and provide gap-year opportunities within clinics in their home communities.
Grant funding will also be used to develop and maintain elements of the program that support current ReConnect Scribes in their application process to medical school and development as future healthcare providers. One critical aspect of the program is when candidates join the program, they step into a “cohort” of peers; ReConnect scribes are interacting with peers who have similar goals and aspirations. Each of our ReConnect scribes is in the process of actively applying to medical school and developing their professional resume. This adds a layer of camaraderie and shared experiences that creates strong bonds among candidates. An activity that the cohort of ReConnect scribes have an opportunity to participate in are bi-monthly “professional learning dinners.” At these events, local pediatrician, Dr. Robert Dannenhoffer of Aviva Health, leads scribes in a professional development or learning activity that introduces them to medical concepts and provides an opportunity for them to “think like a provider.” Topics covered thus far have been “How to Read an Echocardiogram (EKG)” and “Conducting Patient Exams and Reaching Diagnosis.” Grant funding will continue to support activities such as these and allow AHECSW to provide a meal for scribes as they come together for a unique professional learning experience with their peers.
Thank you to OMEF for their generosity and belief in our program's vision. AHECSW is beyond grateful for your continued support of the ReConnect Scribe Program.
ReConnect Scribes gathered at the first- ever “Professional Learning Dinner” facilitated by AHECSW and Aviva Health in April 2019. Dr. Robert Dannenhoffer taught scribes how to read an EKG while scribes enjoyed dinner and an evening of professional discourse and learning.