U.S. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and Rep. Greg Walden to Visit OHSU

08/17/99    Portland, Ore.

National leaders learn about OHSU's rural outreach programs.

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden of Hood River will accompany U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert to Oregon Health Sciences University to highlight health care efforts in rural communities on Tuesday, August 24 at 10 a.m.

Walden and Hastert will tour OHSU's Family Medicine Clinic where they will meet Eva and Olivia Galvez, 23-year-old twins from Hood River who are preparing for medical school. The two recent Oregon State University graduates are interning this summer at OHSU in the Health Career Connections program, which encourages people from rural communities to study medicine and return home to practice.

"Growing up in a bilingual home as children of migrant workers, we have seen first-hand some of the health issues facing rural communities," said Eva Galvez. "We want to attend medical school together and then come back and practice in the same kind of setting we grew up in."

Health Career Connections operates within OHSU's Area Health Education Centers, a program begun in 1989 to address the shortage of health care professionals in rural Oregon. Walden, who sits on the Oregon Health Sciences Foundation Board of Directors, sponsored legislation that helped fund AHEC when he was in the Oregon Legislature. Through AHEC, the number of primary care providers in rural Oregon has increased and health education has been made more accessible in outlying areas.

Following a press availability, Walden and Hastert will meet with Kent Thornburg, Ph.D., director of the Congenital Heart Research Center in the Basic Sciences Building. The center is dedicated to understanding the role of fetal heart development in congenital heart defects and also how fetal heart development and adult heart disease are linked.