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Future Med Students Gain Exposure to Clinical Environment Through ReConnect Scribe Program

Thursday, August 16, 2018   (0 Comments)
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  Mark Tsuchiya, MBA
Marketing and Development Director at
Umpqua Community Health Center 

Opportunity result of partnership between Umpqua Community Health Center and Area Health Education Center of Southwest Oregon.

ROSEBURG, Ore. – Now in its third year, Area Health Education Center of Southwest Oregon’s (AHECSW) ReConnect Scribe Program is delivering on its goal of providing future physicians a meaningful clinical experience in rural healthcare before ever setting foot in medical school. 

AHECSW, in partnership with Umpqua Community Health Center (UCHC), a Douglas County, Oregon based Federally Qualified Health Center, developed the program to give gap-year (the period of time many premed students take before entering medical school to focus on deepening their professional and personal awareness) students a practical and tangible means of gaining healthcare experience by working alongside physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, medical assistants and other clinical providers and charting patient encounters in real time.

Unique to the ReConnect Scribe Program that currently has four gap-year students enrolled and employed at UCHC is a focus on rural healthcare. Areas like Douglas County struggle to meet the demand for high-quality healthcare providers skilled to manage the needs of an over-represented, complex patient population whose conditions are often exacerbated by social determinants of health like poverty, hunger and a lack of education.

“Our ideal scribe candidate is someone who was raised in a rural environment, understands the nuances and intricacies unique to small-town living and is interested in returning home or to a similar destination after medical school and residency to establish a career as a physician,” says Chris Guastaferro, executive director of AHECSW.

According to Guastaferro, the program is rife with benefits – for the scribe, Federally Qualified Health Centers like UCHC and their providers, and the community, too. 

Budding physicians gain critical professional development skills that prepare them for the next chapter of their journey to medical school and valuable patient-contact hours and experiences which are crucial to the application process. 

UCHC’s clinic and staff benefit from the added support of qualified scribe candidates with a quick learning curve and desire to advance their clinical knowledge. And in the end, rural communities like Douglas County benefit by welcoming newly minted, homegrown physicians who fulfill a critical need back into the local healthcare delivery fold once they complete medical school and residency.

“AHECSW has designed the program in such a way that they’ve prescreened scribe candidates to identify those who have a strong affinity for returning to establish a career in a rural healthcare setting,” says KC Bolton, CEO of UCHC. “Our time with these future doctors who participate in the scribe program is really a year-long recruitment effort where we sell these individuals on the idea putting down roots here at UCHC and having a meaningful, palpable impact on the health of our community.”



Founded in 1992, Umpqua Community   Health Center is an independent, board-  governed, not-for-profit organization that   cares for the people of Douglas County by  providing high-quality, patient-centered,   accessible and affordable medical, dental   and behavioral healthcare, regardless of their ability to pay. It offers integrated services from five clinic sites in Roseburg, Myrtle Creek, Sutherlin and Glide, including a Teen Health Center located on the campus of Roseburg High School.




Area Health Education Center of Southwest Oregon was established as the fourth AHEC in the State of Oregon in 1994.  AHECSW is a non-profit organization that partners with key organizations in underserved or unserved communities in order to improve the health of people in southwest Oregon.  






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