Featured Articles: Workforce

The Benefits of Hosting Medical Students at Your Health Center

Monday, August 17, 2015   (0 Comments)
Share |

By Naveen Kanithi, Workforce Program Manager, NWRPCA


In May 2015, A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine’s NWRPCA Campus graduated its fifth class of physicians:  a time to rejoice and reflect, as well as to look toward the future.  In reflection, we are proud that over 80% of our graduates are pursuing primary care and needed specialties, with the bulk entering careers in Family Medicine.  It is also noteworthy that, through their medical school careers, students have unique opportunities to train at community health centers throughout Region X.  In fact, we have been able to offer approximately 100 clinical rotations hosted at over 30 Region X CHCs. 


Class of 2015 - Graduation

Clinical rotations at CHCs offer students unparalleled first-hand experience and exposure to the world of community health.  In addition to developing a better understanding of patients, families and practitioners, students also have a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the communities health centers serve.  Data shows that students who train in health centers are more likely to pursue careers at a CHCs . 

One of our first graduates, Mary Ann Galagate, DO, is an excellent example of this.  The NWRPCA campus, housed in the Multnomah County North Portland Health Clinic, in Portland, OR, was home to Mary Ann during her studies.  She then went on to a residency in rural Washington State.  Upon completion of residency, Dr. Galagate accepted a position back at the Multnomah County Health Department.  This full-circle of training-to-practice is what ATSU and NWRPCA hope to achieve at health centers across Region X.


Class of 2014 Student, Whitney Mack, while on rotation on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

According to our members, health centers that host students enjoy numerous benefits. As illustrated above, the potential for recruitment of qualified providers who know and understand the community is a major benefit.  Additionally, students in training can actually increase productivity, providing the potential for improved patient interactions both in terms of quantity and quality. 


On the preceptor level, we have found that all first-time preceptors have agreed to continue taking students.  Preceptors tell us they believe the student presence adds a spirit of education to a practice, challenging them to continue learning as practitioners themselves.  Preceptorship also can be done in a team-based approach, with a student working not only with a DO/MD, but also with other medical staff including NPs, PAs and other clinicians.  The combined commitment to teaching and training can strengthen team dynamics.


Is hosting a student right for your health center?  We strongly encourage you to ask this important question.  Whether new to hosting a student, or simply wanting to enhance past and current precepting efforts, please feel free to contact me at nkanithi@nwrpca.org


Perhaps the most compelling messages can be found from the students themselves.  In a recent interview while rotating at Orcas Family Health Center, ATSU-NWRPCA campus student Jessica Sallstrom said,


I came in believing that my time on Orcas would be great, and I have been absolutely blown away! I am consistently astounded by not only the beauty of the island, but also the generosity, hospitality and resilience shown by the individuals and families that get to call this wonderland ‘home.’ I have loved learning from Dr. Shinstrom, Karen and everyone working at the clinic. Honestly, I am surprised by how much joy it brings me to be here each day. How many people get to say that medical school gets to be this fun?”

The full interview can be found here: http://www.islandssounder.com/community/321405171.html


Membership Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal