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

June 5th, 2017 by healthinnovation
Third year pharmacy student Neva Gross gets ready to take a group selfie at the top of Mt. Battie in Camden, ME

Third year pharmacy student Neva Gross gets ready to take a group selfie at the top of Mt. Battie in 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 fourth and final day in the Midcoast area on May 24th, 2017.

Curtis Jensen, owner of Jensen's pharmacy in Rockland talks about his experience of owning a private pharmacy.

Curtis Jensen, owner of Jensen’s pharmacy in Rockland talks about his experience of owning a private pharmacy.

Sara Stafford (third year pharmacy student)

Today was sadly our last day of the rural health immersion. After breakfast at Dots and driving to the top of Mount Battie, we had the opportunity to visit the local YMCA in Rockport and Rockland. We were able to check blood pressure on many of the residents of the area, pass out pedometers and give them information on the File of Life. Nearly everyone we talked to had never heard of the File of Life and giving them the opportunity to have all of their information available in the event that something happened to them where a health care professional would need that information in their home made me feel like I was really making a difference. Aside from the health screenings, we also got to talk with many of the local residents about their experiences in the health care system in their area. It was interesting to hear about the different experiences, with some of them being very negative and some of them being positive. After learning so much about rural health care in the past week, I felt like I was able to relate those negative experiences with the barriers that are presented in an area with such limited resources. After interacting with so many health care professionals, it was wonderful to be able to talk with the actual patients and hear about their experiences in the same system. Whether you’re a provider or a patient, everyone experiences shortcomings in this area and that needs to be recognized by more people.

After visiting the YMCA and eating lunch at Clan MacLaren, we visited Jensen’s Pharmacy in Rockland. As a pharmacy student, this was a great chance to see how a pharmacist at an independent pharmacy fits in to rural health care. Throughout this week, I had been wondering how a pharmacist could make a difference in a rural community and I felt like this experience gave me some answers to that. Unlike some of the other community pharmacies I have seen, there seemed to be more collaboration between the pharmacist and the physician, which is essential for good patient care. In addition to the enhanced patient care at this pharmacy, I was surprised to see more advanced technology being used in such a rural setting. The technology they had available for counting medication and keeping records not only benefits their business but also ensures their accuracy.

Not only today, but throughout the entire immersion, I was so thankful to be able to work with students from other professional programs; it was amazing to hear their different perspectives and get to know such great people that I would have otherwise not known. Whether it was their respective discipline or just the people that I was able to share this experience with, I have never been so passionate about doing more interdisciplinary outreach and will definitely continue to seek out the opportunities to do so.

UNE students and faculty attend a weeklong rural health immersion in Midcoast Maine (L-R, Row 1 Nancy Simpson, Purvi Patel, Molly Callnan, Emma Mason, Brandi Sargent, Cassidy Carpenter, Row 2 Jennifer Gunderman, Jason Greenbaum, Matthew Fiorilo, Sara Stafford, Kurdistan Pishdary, Heather Curran, Abby Golash, Neva Gross, Katelyn Van Leir , Ian Imbert)

UNE students and faculty attend a weeklong rural health immersion in Midcoast Maine (L-R, Row 1 Nancy Simpson, Purvi Patel, Molly Callnan, Emma Mason, Brandi Sargent, Cassidy Carpenter, Row 2 Jennifer Gunderman, Jason Greenbaum, Matthew Fiorilo, Sara Stafford, Kurdistan Pishdary, Heather Curran, Abby Golash, Neva Gross, Katelyn Van Leir , Ian Imbert)

Neva Gross (third year pharmacy student)

What can I say about this final day? The first three days have been packed with so many eye-opening experiences, how much more could possibly happen on our final day? Well, our chosen breakfast location did just that. After a brief stop at a local spot called Dots to pick up breakfast to-go, we hiked up Mount Battie….Hmmmm correction, the van did the hiking for us then we jumped out and took some pictures of the awesome view (but that was MY perfect kind of hiking).

Our mission today was to offer free health screenings at two local YMCAs, which actually means Young Men’s Christian Association. After doing a bit of research about the YMCA, I learned that the founder (George Williams) wanted to focus on developing a healthy “mind, body, & spirit”. This is actually represented as the three sides of the red triangle in their logo. Mr.Williams would definitely be proud of the PenBay YMCA in Rockport, ME for their absolutely beautiful building and wide range of services that they offer to the members of the community.  We were fortunate enough to be able to offer blood pressure checks from our College of Osteopathic Medicine and Nursing students, File of Life information from our Doctor of Pharmacy students, and very informative emergency iPhone Medical ID info (as well as, all around dental knowledge) from our College of Dental Medicine students. The members of the community that we encountered were very welcoming and seemed to be appreciative of our overall presence. The conversations ranged from blood pressure/health concerns to invitations to join the Zumba Gold class. One conversation that I enjoyed was with a retired pharmacist who was eager to chat with us about the importance of exercise.

After leaving the “Y”, we headed to lunch then visited Jensen’s Pharmacy. One of my classmates actually did a rotation at this pharmacy, so I was excited to see all of the things he had previously shared with me about this location. Curtis, the owner of the pharmacy, walked us around the pharmacy and talked to us about his path to owning an independent pharmacy. He also shared with us the impact of being a local pharmacy in the area and the relationships with the prescribers. It was good to hear about the mutual respect for each others professions, something that we (as interprofessional students) are working on perfecting during this rural immersion.

The purpose of this trip was to identify some of the barriers to care in the rural setting. My personal reflection would not be complete without mentioning the overall need for a public transportation system in this location. The community is overflowing with individuals who are willing to donate their time to serve the underserved population, which was very apparent to me. However, the lack of reliable transportation is blocking the most needy from acquiring these services. I won’t claim to have the answer to this barrier, but I will definitely be researching it. Until then, I will just recap a few things I learned on this trip: the definition of camping, hard water is real, fisher cat is neither a fish nor a cat, singing happy birthday in public is fun, and most of all, this was definitely the BEST immersion crew EVER!

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

June 2nd, 2017 by healthinnovation
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.

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

June 1st, 2017 by healthinnovation
UNE students visit local elementary schools in Waldo County and provide education on the brain, oral health, and tick prevention.

UNE students visit local elementary schools in Waldo County and provide education on the brain, oral health, and tick prevention.

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 second day in the Midcoast area on May 23rd, 2017.

Students meet with former Belfast Mayor and current city councilor Mike Hurley over breakfast to discuss community advocacy in Waldo County.

Students meet with former Belfast Mayor and current city councilor Mike Hurley over breakfast to discuss community advocacy in Waldo County.

Purvi Patel (second year pharmacy student)

Today was a very informative day for me. As far as pharmacy is concerned I haven’t had much experience in a hospital pharmacy setting. I’ve always known that there were specialties in pharmacy but going to Pen Bay Hospital today I discovered that the pharmacist there needed to know about retail pharmacy and hospital pharmacy. Knowing that hospital and retail pharmacy are very different things I realized that they enjoyed their jobs because it was challenging. Also, they had to change how they thought based on what side of the pharmacy they were in (inpatient or outpatient). There were other challenges where they had to prioritize between making a drug for someone in the emergency room, nurses calling about drug interactions, and patients waiting to get their medications in the outpatient pharmacy. Being in a rural setting they have to deal with all these challenges because there isn’t enough staff to handle just one side (inpatient or outpatient). I learned that there are many challenges in a rural setting but I also realize I would want to work in this setting because I know help is needed.

I have always known that compassion is needed in a healthcare provider but today really showed me that it is so much more important than I thought. We got to speak with people that play such a huge role in health policy. The way they spoke and explained the things that lack in the community or things they would like to incorporate, I realized that they joined politics because they wanted to make a real difference. Previously, I had always had a very negative stand on politics, but today I realized that, if we as healthcare providers want to make changes, we need to be more involved in politics.

The hospice tour was very emotional and eye opening. Our Dean is very involved with hospice care and we have learned a lot about it in the past two years. Actually going to a facility, seeing how things truly work and seeing the environment was an eye opening experience. Being in a rural environment I think having this facility is really important. It’s even better that it is so close to the hospital allowing people to have better access.

Overall today was more of an interprofessional day than the day before. I learned so much more about dentists and their jobs. I got to work with medical students and elementary kids that knew about rural environments. I learned a lot from the kids about what kinds of homes they have or what their daily routines are in a rural setting.  It was great riding in a van all day with different professions because we joked about how everyone in the healthcare profession has a superiority complex. Our conclusion to that discussion was that we all matter. Our knowledge is more useful and valuable as a whole. Working across professions is what will help our patients the most, whether it’s a rural, suburban or urban setting.

Students receive a tour of Pen Bay Hospital in Knox County.

Students receive a tour of Pen Bay Hospital in Knox County.

Katelyn Van Leir (second year dental student)

Yesterday was our second day on the Midcoast Maine Rural Health Immersion Trip. It matched the full load the first day presented us with, and kept us very busy. We started at the elementary schools in the area, followed by a tour of PenBay hospital in Rockport, a visit to Dr. Pier’s dental office, and, finally, dinner with Maine State Representative Pinny Beebee-Center.

At the elementary school, we were all very excited to be there. We worked together to teach the children about tick prevention, how the brain works, and oral health (my favorite!). We all had a lot of fun working with children and we were all very shocked by how much they already knew. However, what myself, and I believe my classmates found most interesting was the fact that every student at Troy and Walker schools receives free lunch.  I don’t think we were as shocked by that fact as we were about the children’s morale. Without knowing the fact, based on the quality of the school and attitudes of the children, it was something you would have never guessed. I found myself very surprised at how resourceful the community is, and how much effort it takes to create such a positive environment with such minimal means. We then visited Pen Bay hospital that seemed similar to Waldo County General Hospital (which we visited yesterday). I personally found a lot of interdisciplinary teamwork here as we visited the psychiatric center. As a dentist I wouldn’t have normally had the opportunity to analyze a psychiatric ward; I found myself baffled by the lack of space for so many patients in this area, not at Pen Bay, but where they can go for treatment after being discharged. It was disheartening to see what the nurses in the ward must deal with to have their patients get the help and care they need after their stay at Pen Bay.

Later we visited Dr. Pier’s dental office. I was very excited to see Dr. Pier as we work with him at UNE, and I think he is a great role model as a dentist. Initially, I did not see how he fit for students outside the dental school. It was not until later that night I was chatting with the others that they revealed to me that it was a great experience to visit his dental office. They had their “interdisciplinary ah-ha” moment as they got to see what we as dentists do, and became even further immersed in the interdisciplinary goal of this trip.

Lastly, we met with Maine State Representative Pinny Beebee-Center whom we discussed politics with. At the end of dinner Jason (the other dental student) and I picked her brain and I immediately found myself inspired about how I could make a difference in a community as a healthcare professional. Being from urban Southern California, I find it difficult to rally the troops for a cause because, unlike rural Maine, we don’t have tight knit communities, and do not share similar town/county wide struggles. However, after her conversation, I feel now that I can have a voice if I know who to talk to. Her passion to change the community through politics is infectious, and she instilled upon me to start at the bottom to see change at the top, and in her words specifically, “to work with politics with a little p, not a big P.”

Overall the second day was nothing shy of amazing, and was full of revelations, revelations I have been touched by, and will carry throughout life.

David Pier, DMD, provides a tour of his dental office in Rockport, ME.

David Pier, DMD, provides a tour of his dental office in Rockport, ME.

Heather Curran (senior nursing student)

The second day turned out to be my favorite and most meaningful part of our immersion. Our group split up and headed to two different elementary schools. The night before, we prepared lesson plans to teach the students about the brain, oral health, and tick awareness. My group consisted of nursing, pharmacy, dental, and medical students and we went to Walker elementary while the other group went to Troy elementary. Deciding how we would teach the kids was a bit difficult, since, as we were teaching 1st-4th grade students, we wanted to ensure our teaching style to match their learning level. As a future nurse, I found this significant because I could relate it to providing patient education and patient centered care in the future.

My visit at Walker elementary was eye opening. The first person we talked to was the principal, Glenn Widmer. I was surprised to find out that the school has 100 kids and consists of multiple towns. In addition, Glenn is the principal of both Troy and Walker middle school which really gave us a sense of how rural and close knit the community is. The principal and teachers were very passionate and went above and beyond when it came to their students.

Walker elementary school was different than most schools in more ways than one. It was small in both size and population. This was especially evident when we were told that some of the individual classes consisted of two grades. The school also had a greenhouse and an orchard that the students helped with. The notion behind this is that if the students are involved in growing the fruits and vegetables, then they are more likely to enjoy eating them. After talking with some of my peers we realized that both Troy and Walker elementary students seemed to be exceptionally smart and healthy. The teacher to student ratio as well as the push for healthy habits seemed to be a great way to facilitate the students’ learning, an important aspect that should not be overlooked for children at this age.

Maine State Representative Anne Beebee-Center talks about the role of healthcare providers in local policy.

Maine State Representative Anne Beebee-Center talks about the role of healthcare providers in local policy.

UNE’s Midcoast Maine Rural Health Immersion Kicks-off

May 22nd, 2017 by healthinnovation

 

UNE students and faculty attend a weeklong rural health immersion in Midcoast Maine (L-R, Row 1 Nancy Simpson, Purvi Patel, Molly Callnan, Emma Mason, Brandi Sargent, Cassidy Carpenter, Row 2 Jennifer Gunderman, Jason Greenbaum, Matthew Fiorilo, Sara Stafford, Kurdistan Pishdary, Heather Curran, Abby Golash, Neva Gross, Katelyn Van Leir , Ian Imbert)

UNE students and faculty attend a weeklong rural health immersion in Midcoast Maine (L-R, Row 1 Nancy Simpson, Purvi Patel, Molly Callnan, Emma Mason, Brandi Sargent, Cassidy Carpenter, Row 2 Jennifer Gunderman, Jason Greenbaum, Matthew Fiorilo, Sara Stafford, Kurdistan Pishdary, Heather Curran, Abby Golash, Neva Gross, Katelyn Van Leir , Ian Imbert)

Thirteen UNE health professions students are currently participating 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.  The students have been split into interprofessional teams consisting of medical, pharmacy, nursing, and dental students.   The students are experiencing a variety of clinical and community activities in underserved areas in Knox and Waldo county.  Below are reflections from one team after the first day in Waldo County on May 22nd, 2017.

DSC_0941

Dr. David Loxterkamp, MD, and Mary Beth Leone, LCSW, provide a training on Medication Assisted Treatment at Athena Health in Belfast, ME

Brandi Sargent (second year medical student)

As a college of osteopathic medicine student, I learned a lot today about not only physicians in a rural health atmosphere, but other care providers as well. We began the morning with a discussion about treating patients with addiction held by Dr. Loxterkamp and Mary Beth Leone at Athena Health. I admired their idea of a “tribe” setup and how important it is for their program that the patients meet as a group and build relationships with people like them. One key takeaway I had from this experience was how often treating patients with addictions will be for us in the future and how we, like the patients, will have to work as a tribe with different health professions to best care for them.

In the afternoon, we had the opportunity to tour Waldo County General Hospital and Stockton Spring Rural Health Center. In each setting, I was excited to learn about the different roles physicians play in a rural setting. Dr. Smith, a hospitalist at Waldo County General Hospital, wore a variety of hats as he treated the patients in the hospital. He also talked about how in another rural setting, he delivered children as well as being a family physician. I had never heard of a TeleHealth intensive care unit before coming to this hospital and found it a really unique and thoughtful way to connect patients in remote areas to experts in the field in other locations. At the Stockton Spring Center, we learned about their patient centered approach to treatment and I was able to experience another physician who was able to do a variety of things in the practice. They also had a trauma room equipped to handle suturing patients, which I found really great in this remote area to be able to provide quick treatment. One of my overall goals for this immersion was to see physicians who were able to experience a variety of patients and procedures due to being in a rural setting and I definitely saw this today. This immersion definitely made me more open to practicing in a rural setting and helping to treat patients recovering from addiction.

DSC_0953

Students discuss rural health care during a visit to the Stockton Springs Regional Health Center in Stockton Springs, ME.

Jason Greenbaum (second year dental student)

Today was the first day of our immersion into rural health in mid-coast Maine. We started our journey in Belfast at the Seaport Community Health Center where we learned about the very serious opioid crisis that is affecting Maine. Dr. Loxterkamp explained what it is like to be a physician who helps run a medication assisted treatment (MAT) program. Mary Beth Leone explained what it is like to be a licensed clinical social worker for the MAT program and how it is important to walk a fine line between establishing trust with your patients and keeping them accountable. As a dentist, I feel that it will also be crucial to walk this fine line between establishing trust and holding patients accountable for their oral hygiene. After our training, I also can appreciate my role as a dentist in preventing the over prescribing of opioid pain medication that may lead to misuse by the patient or others that might have access to the medication. We then toured around the Athenahealth building which surprised me because it seemed like it was some corporate headquarters right out of Silicone Valley. I very much appreciated how this business provides jobs and the opportunity of a fulfilling career for the residents of Waldo county.

Our next stop was to Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast. We were introduced to many of the public health and health education programs that exist in Belfast through Waldo County General Hospital. We toured around the hospital and even got to see the dental clinic that exists there. Dentists are severely lacking in Waldo county and I was shocked to hear that there are about 3,600 patients to every one dentist in the clinic. I was happy to hear that a recent UNE graduate will be taking a position at the Waldo County General Hospital dental clinic after a positive experience during his externship this past year. I enjoyed meeting one of the dentists in the clinic, Dr. John Slaughter, who after retiring came back to practice in the clinic to help meet the dental needs of the residents of Waldo county. We then split up into groups and several of us toured around the inpatient nutrition services and outpatient diabetic clinic. Thankfully one of the UNE CDM faculty, Dr. King, was there to help me look at inpatient nutrition from the aspect dentistry. We conversed about how it is important for the dentist to educate the patient or patient’s parent about the high carbohydrate content of many liquid nutrition diets and how this can affect the dentition. Therefore, it is important to maintain good oral hygiene when on a liquid diet to prevent the progression of dental caries. I am happy to be learning so much on the first day of this rural health immersion. This program is helping to reiterate the reasons why I chose to come to dental school and why I want to stay and practice in Maine.

DSC_0948

Students get a tour of Waldo County General Hospital

Matthew Fiorillo (OMS II)

As a rising second year medical student (and a current Maine resident) I found today’s agenda to be especially interesting.   Unfortunately, the state has a real problem with opioid abuse, and healthcare professionals need to play an active role in helping to resolve the problem. To begin, I thought that Dr. Loxterkamp and Mary-Beth Leone made great points regarding the treatment of addiction patients. Substance abuse can affect anyone, but it tends to involve patients with poor social histories–namely people (1) from lower income backgrounds, or (2) who have suffered physical or emotional abuse.

I thought this was an important point to consider. Some people are–through no fault of their own–more predisposed to addiction. As healthcare providers, we need to be mindful of this concept, and make sure that we afford each of our patients the time and respect that they deserve. With this in mind, an ideal treatment plan should include methods to not only treat addiction, but to also address the issues underlying the addiction. To accomplish this goal, providers need to form close, caring relationships with their patients. Interestingly, this concept was reinforced throughout the day, and was echoed by providers at both Waldo County General Hospital and Stockton Spring Rural Health Center.

One of my goals for this immersion experience was to better understand how interprofessional cooperation could be used to benefit patient care, and I definitely was able to see this today. I am excited to work with everyone over the next few days, and am looking forward to learning more about the intricacies of rural medicine over the next few days!

Students split into interprofessional teams and bowl at the Point Lookout Resort bowling alley.

Students split up into interprofessional teams and bowl at the Point Lookout Resort bowling alley.