Expanding on the Southern Oregon connection

May 9, 2016

As Oregon's academic health center, all 96,000 square miles of Oregon are important to OHSU. Institutional and school leaders regularly visit cities around the state to listen and learn about community needs – and brainstorm ways to collaborate to serve Oregonians. George Mejicano, M.D., senior associate dean for education, OHSU School of Medicine, visited Medford in April to meet with providers and education leaders in the Southern Oregon community.

Dr. Mejicano's trip included conversations about expanding clinical training sites in the area. Additional community partners will be essential to help the school meet its education mission; the M.D. class size continues to grow and interprofessional education is an increasing focus of health profession education.

"Community providers are critical to our education mission. They allow OHSU and the School of Medicine to send students and trainees around the state to experience practicing in rural and community-based settings," said Dr. Mejicano. "I am grateful for their ongoing support and am always interested in conversations to strengthen relationships."

Gina Jones, MPAS, PA-C, adjunct assistant professor, OHSU Physician Assistant Program, who practices in in Medford, and Jamie Grebosky, M.D., vice president for medical affairs, Asante, joined Dr. Mejicano to talk about collaboration.

Dr. Mejicano also met with Charles Dibb, M.D., president of Hematology Oncology Associates PC and affiliate assistant professor of medicine, OHSU School of Medicine, who contacted the School of Medicine with concern about the lack of OHSU graduates who decide to practice in the Medford area. Since a provider's practice location often corresponds with the environment in which they grew up or trained, he and Dr. Mejicano looked at recent data on M.D. program applicants from Jackson and Josephine counties. In 2015, for example, seven applicants from the area were interviewed, one was accepted and one matriculated. The incoming M.D. class of 2015 as a whole was 76 percent Oregonian or Oregon Heritage (defined as non-residents with a significant connection to Oregon: graduation from an Oregon college or high school with two years of attendance;parent(s) is legal Oregon resident). Drs. Mejicano and Dibb will continue to discuss ways to strengthen pipeline programs and encourage Southern Oregon residents to apply to the school.

Southern Oregon is an important region for OHSU's education programs and rural health initiatives. Family medicine and surgery graduate medical education programs have training sites in cities such as Klamath Falls, Grants Pass and Coos Bay. The evidence suggests such programs are effective for the state's workforce: about 50 percent of Cascades East Family Medicine Residency Program graduates choose to stay in Oregon to practice.

In 2014, Oregon FIRST – Family Medicine Integrated Rural Student Training – was launched to provide four-year medical students an immersion experience in rural community practice.

OHSU's connections to the area include relationships to meet the community's health care needs. An inpatient and outpatient telemedicine program has been in place at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center for many years. Asante also hosts graduate students in the dietetic internship program –a Graduate Programs in Human Nutrition certificate program.

Recently, Sky Lakes Medical Center and OHSU announced a $50 million project to construct a new collaborative health care building in Klamath Falls. Read more about the Sky Lakes-OHSU initiative.