|Medical School to bring rural medicine program to Dickinson|
Dickinson will join the group of North Dakota communities that host UND medical students who spend most of their third year of medical school learning about rural medicine.
Each year, several junior medical students from the medical school spend seven months of medical school learning about rural health care firsthand through the school's Rural Opportunities in Medical Education (ROME) program. In November, Dickinson will host its first ROME students.
ROME is an interdisciplinary experience in a rural primary care setting, open to medical students who wish to live and train in non-metropolitan communities throughout North Dakota under the supervision of physician-educators. Students, who must apply and be accepted to the ROME program, learn about problems commonly encountered in primary care, from routine health maintenance to medical emergencies and unusual diagnoses in rural areas.
For the past nine years, the ROME program has been based in Hettinger, Williston, Devils Lake and Jamestown.
The students selected to go to Dickinson through ROME will work with Kamille Sherman at Dickinson Clinic and Heather Hughes at Great Plains Clinic, both graduates of the UND medical school. The students will also work closely with several other health care professionals in the community.
Hughes, a 2001 graduate, and Sherman, a 1999 graduate, are clinical assistant professors of family and community medicine at the UND medical school. As a medical student, Hughes went through the ROME program in Williston and was one of the first ROME students to establish a medical practice in North Dakota after completing her training.
Thomas Arnold, a 1984 graduate and a clinical assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, was instrumental in getting the ROME program started in Dickinson.
“ROME is a unique program,” said Roger Schauer, associate professor of family and community medicine and director of the ROME program. “It requires self-directed learning in partnership with physician-instructors.”
One of the program’s objectives is to allow students to learn about patients in the context of continuous care over a period of seven months, which is proving to be a popular aspect among students, according to Schauer. Students learn about problems commonly encountered in primary care, from routine health maintenance to medical emergencies and rare or unusual diagnoses. A recent evaluation of the ROME program found that students who participated in the program not only scored just as well on their exams as their classmates, but also are more likely to choose to go into a primary care field of medicine. After earning their medical degrees, 62 percent of ROME graduates selected primary care (family medicine, internal medicine or pediatrics) residencies for further training, compared to 36 percent of traditional program graduates.
“ROME is a great program,” said Robert Beattie, who served as the program’s coordinator in Hettinger until becoming chair of Family and Community Medicine last year. “ROME is an exceptional opportunity for medical students to experience the best that rural health care has to offer. It allows the students to become involved in the community in addition to the medical center. I look forward to supporting and possibly expanding the ROME experience for our future students.”
-- Amanda Scurry, public information specialist, UND SMHS, firstname.lastname@example.org, 701-777-0871