South East Illinois AHEC and Fairfield Memorial Hospital Host 2012 Southern Exposure
South East Illinois Area Health Education Center (SEI-AHEC) recently participated in the “2012 Southern Exposure” event at Fairfield Memorial Hospital. The event brought first-year Rural Medical (RMED) and Rural Pharmacy (RPharm) students from the University of Illinois Rural Health Sciences Campus at Rockford to a rural setting in order to give the students a better understanding of the advantages of practicing in a rural community. During the 2012 Southern Exposure, students were given a day and a half to learn about the opportunities and communities in the Southern Illinois area. In addition to the University of Illinois students, Matt Hunsaker, MD, Rural Medical Education Program (RMED), Director, U of I College of Medicine; Martin MacDowell, DrPH, Associate Director Health Professions Education, U of I College of Medicine; and Allison Schriever, PharmD, Director of Experiential Education, U of I College of Pharmacy, were also in attendance for the event.
During their time at Fairfield Memorial Hospital, the students were given a tour of the facility, followed by lunch, and then Wesley Thompson, M.D., a Primary Care physician at Horizon Healthcare and former RMED student, Lance Endsley, PharmD, FMH Pharmacy Director, and Katherine Bunting, Ph.D., FMH CEO each presented the advantages of practicing in the rural setting.
“This was an excellent opportunity to meet the future doctors and pharmacists interested in Rural Illinois practice,” stated Bunting.
Bunting added, “Fairfield Memorial Hospital is proud to be serving our rural area and delivering care to our community. This event provided us the opportunity to highlight the many unspoken rewards that practicing medicine in a rural area can provide.”
"The University of Illinois has a long partnership with Fairfield in training and returning physicians to the community. The RMED and RPharm programs at the University of Illinois College at Rockford thank Fairfield Memorial Hospital for working together with us to provide opportunities for rural students to train in our programs at Rockford and return home as a sustainable pipeline of rural health professionals. Our rural programs are strongly dependent on the community partnerships we share with Fairfield and across Illinois," stated Matt Hunsaker, MD, Rural Medical Education Program (RMED), Director, U of I College of Medicine.
The Rural Medical Education (RMED) program is designed to recruit, admit and prepare medical students from the state of Illinois, who will, upon completion of residency training, locate and practice in rural Illinois as primary care physicians.
“The SEI-AHEC program helps identify intelligent, capable and motivated individuals from local communities. It is our goal to develop a strong community partnership with existing organizations and programs, as well as, work closely with the communities to bridge gaps and strengthen existing programs. This event has allowed us to expose these future healthcare providers to the benefits of practicing in a rural area,” said, Beth Wilson, RN, BSN, SANE, SEI- AHEC Director.
SEI-AHEC serves eighteen counties including Wayne, Alexander, Edwards, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Johnson, Massac, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Saline, Union, Wabash, White, and Williamson.
Pictured are students who are currently participating in the RMED and RPHARM programs at the University of Illinois; all of which have committed to practice in rural Illinois.