UNE students share reflections on day three of their week-long rural health immersion in Midcoast Maine

After breakfast the students pose for a picture at the amphitheatre in downtown Camden, ME.

After breakfast on Day 3 the students pose for a picture at the amphitheatre in downtown Camden, ME.

Thirteen UNE health professions students recently participated in a week long rural health immersion in Midcoast Maine.  The immersion experience is a part of a pipeline program with Maine’s Area Health Education Center (AHEC) program and UNE’s Center for Excellence in Health Innovation (CEHI) to address healthcare provider shortages in rural Maine.  This is the third immersion experience that the Maine AHEC and CEHI have provided for UNE students; last May medical, pharmacy, and dental students participated in a weeklong immersion in Aroostook County and last March medical and nursing students participated in a weeklong immersion in Franklin County.  In this immersion students were split into interprofessional teams consisting of medical, pharmacy, nursing, and dental students.   The students experienced a variety of clinical and community activities in underserved areas in Knox and Waldo county.  Below are reflections from one team after the third day in the Midcoast area on May 23rd, 2017.

Dr. Mary Ashmore, DO, UNECOM '93, gives the students a tour of her practice in Camden and talks about her work with osteopathic manipulative therapy.

Dr. Mary Ashmore, DO, UNECOM ’93, gives the students a tour of her practice in Camden and talks about her work with osteopathic manipulative therapy.

Cassidy Carpenter (second year medical student)

Today, we toured a private practice and a free health clinic. This was an incredibly valuable experience as it highlighted the discrepancy in healthcare delivery based on socioeconomic status. The first healthcare facility we toured was a private practice where patients have to pay seventy-five dollars per month. The facility, resources, and care were phenomenal and a seemed like a great model for any practice follow.

Later in the afternoon, we toured a free clinic, which provided an entirely different perspective on healthcare delivery. While the doctors, nurses, and staff of the Knox Free Clinic are doing a phenomenal job with the limited resources they have, it showcased the large gap we have in access between “the haves” and “have-nots” in our population. Overall, today provided a great juxtaposition between two clinics that both had the same objectives and goals in terms of patient health, but had very different abilities based on resources and patient population.

Students engage with  Meredith Batley as she shares her experiences of working at the Knox Free Clinic.

Students engage with Meredith Batley as she shares her experiences of working at the Knox Free Clinic.

Molly Callanan (senior nursing student)

Today we started the day by visiting Dr. Mary Ashmore’s private midcoast clinic. This clinic was primary care with a mix of osteopathic manipulation therapy, which is a more holistic approach to treating the patient. I have had little experience with this type of therapy, so I found it fascinating to learn what it was and how it helps patients, especially patients with chronic pain. This facility does not accept most types of insurance (except Mainecare and Medicare) and instead her patient’s make payments of seventy-five dollars per month. I found this business model surprising because most people are not able to afford medical treatment unless it is covered by insurance. I imagine this excludes a lot of possible clients from this clinic. Another aspect of Dr. Ashmore’s clinic is an upstairs area for community classes such as dancing and Zumba, which is a function I really admired. I feel that it is important to provide education and exercise classes to the community because it has a real positive impacted on public health.

Our next stop was the Knox free clinic where we talked with Dr. Kleiner and Meredith Batley. Visiting this clinic after Dr. Ashmore’s private clinic was a great way to note the discrepancies in healthcare based on socioeconomic status. I found these stops to be really inspirational about how we can all find a way to help treat those who truly need it if we are willing to put in a small portion of our time.  I’ve also wanted to be able to help make changes in areas that are in need of it, but I’ve found that knowing the best way to do that is challenging to figure out on my own. Dr. Kleiner made it seem like [caring for the underserved was a] much more reasonable task and it made me excited to be able to volunteer in similar places once I graduate. We also made a stop at the Knox free dental clinic where they have one dental hygienist that works three days a week to help clients [improve their oral health]. I was shocked to learn how desperate the community is for dental care and the little amount of options there are for them. It was impressive to hear how much work this dental hygienist was doing for the community, though, at the same time saddening knowing that they cannot get a dentist to volunteer in the clinic to perform more advanced dental care.

The last stop of the day was to Seaport Health Center. We learned about this health center on our first day from Dr. Loxterkamp. They have a very nice health center with primary care, acute care, social workers, nurse practitioners, PT, and nurses. This health center usually only treats patients who have these doctors for primary care or by referrals. Another aspect of this center is that they provide addiction treatment which we learned about on the first day from Dr. Loxterkamp.

The last stop of the day was at Seaport Community Health Center in Beflast, ME where students get a first hand look at integrated practice.

The last stop of the day was at Seaport Community Health Center in Beflast, ME where students get a first hand look at integrated practice.

Emma Mason (second year medical student)

[Today was my birthday and] the first day of my 23rd year of life was part of the Mid-Coast Maine rural health immersion.  We started out the day having breakfast with Doctor Mary Ashmore, DO, and getting a tour of her private practice in Camden.  We then traveled to Rockland where Dr. Kleiner, MD and Meredith Batley gave us a tour of the Knox Free Clinic.  Being able to see these two different types of services back-to-back allowed us to see the difference in the two types of care.  It was interesting to see the quality of the private practice vs the free clinic and the different populations they serve.  Having grown up in this area I always knew that public transportation was a big issue as there is none but I never thought about it in the context of healthcare access.

In the afternoon, we had some free time to explore the Mid-Coast area.  We went to Cellardoor winery and walked around downtown Belfast.  We then went to our last tour of the day, Seaport Health Center.  This was another great opportunity to learn about a different health center and the way that it is run compared to the others we’ve visited so far.

 

After dinner at Rollies we have cake and sing Happy Birthday to two of the students whose birthdays were during the trip.

After dinner at Rollies we have cake and sing Happy Birthday to two of the students whose birthdays were during the trip.

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