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Rural Healthcare Can Entice the Best and Brightest

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, May 15, 2013

"At Waterfall there was one physician who oversaw eight nurse practitioners and the physician comes in one day a week. They were trying to recruit more, but they were having problems getting people to come out there. I was thinking if I was a doctor trying to come out and work at this clinic, the first thing I would do is look for their website. Or if I was a patient I'd want to know if they have the resources so I would look them up on the website to see what they have. But those things weren't there."

Chisti saw where he could help and he volunteered to reboot the clinic's Web presence. "I used to build websites in college to pay for my MCATs, so I could do one thing really [easily] and build them a website, get them some web presence, put in some software that lets you know how long people are sitting on each page—the analytics. That is when I saw that their employment page was the top hit after I launched it, and still is. People sit there for a few minutes and they are reading it. They are getting a lot more people responding."

Chisti also helped to build a referral network, but it didn't quite develop as well as he wanted. "I saw a need to address access issues, programs, and interventions, but I realized I didn't have any formal training," he says. "Some of the initiatives I started failed. And that is when I realized that I am capable of performing these tasks but I couldn't. I wanted to make sure they were sustainable and done the right way."

So he took a year off from medical school at the Oregon Health & Science University to attend the Harvard School of Public Health, where he will earn a master's in public health this month before returning to OHSU for his fourth year of medical school. "The Harvard School of Public Health is good for health policy management, the track that helps me realize how to manage a program and how to study it to know whether or not it is good enough for a policy intervention to upscale it."

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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.