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Rural Healthcare Can Entice the Best and Brightest

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, May 15, 2013

Ali Chisti intends to pursue a career as an internist and a population health specialist providing care in underserved and rural areas—not as a neurosurgeon as he had originally planned. He changed his mind when he came to understand the gap in resources between rural and urban areas.


Medical student Ali Chisti had planned a career as a neurosurgeon when the real world stepped in and offered a decidedly different career path.

A friend and coworker at a Bandon golf course along the rural southern coast of Oregon where Chisti caddied broke his wrist and had to declare bankruptcy because he couldn't pay the $12,000 in medical bills he'd incurred.

"That's when I saw that resources were different in rural versus urban areas," Chisti says.

In fact, there was a community health center, the Waterfall Clinic, serving the Bandon area, but its Web site wasn't working, their phone lines were often busy and they didn't have the staff or the technical support to fix the problem. As a result, Chisti's friend couldn't find out about reduced fee services they provided.

So he had to go with a more expensive option that left him with a huge bill relative to his income and few options beyond bankruptcy.

"It really is a group of good-hearted people that just didn't have the resources of the federally qualified health centers in Portland, where there is a staff of physicians," Chisti says.

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2 comments on "Rural Healthcare Can Entice the Best and Brightest"


Robert C. Bowman, M.D. (5/20/2013 at 10:15 PM)
Challenges remain for all locations and populations with regard to health care. The best and brightest are seen across the wide range of settings. Northern Ontario School of Medicine and Florida State have demonstrated superior medical education using rural, underserved, and community based sites. Top ratings of students, top scores, and top matches indicate this success. Traditional medical education must learn to emulate the high quality mark set by rural medical education for 9 months in a rural location working with interprofessional teams and learning from people and patients - not just books.

Mary K Parker (5/15/2013 at 10:37 PM)
I would work with this doctor in a heartbeat. It's wonderful to work with someone who sees the gaps and deficiencies and isn't afraid to implement an idea, revise, and re-do. He would be an exciting person to work with and for.