OHSU Medical Students Live With and Learn About the Lives of Family Practice Physicians

08/19/02    Portland, Ore.

Thirty-one entering first-year medical students will start this week getting an up-close look at the lives and work of family practice physicians throughout the state. The Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine students are part of the 16th annual Summer Observership program, which is designed to give interested students a taste of what being a physician, mostly in rural areas, is all about.

From Aug. 19 through Aug. 23 students will pair up with community physicians to and be part of the day-to-day realities of the clinical side as well as the personal side of the family physicians' lives.

Alexa Pfeffer, from Glastonbury, Conn., is in Chiloquin, in Klamath County, with Curtis Hanst, M.D., at the Klamath Tribes Health Clinic this week.

"It's a great opportunity. This observership is important to me because I am mostly interested in working with underserved communities after medical school," she said.

The program's organizers say that students gain a better understanding of rural medical practice. It also helps them make more informed decisions about what area of medicine to specialize in and where they want to practice. The program also is intended to attract future physicians to underserved communities. Many who do choose rural areas for their careers often cite the Summer Observership as a key factor in their decision making, said Kathryn Chappelle, M.A., the program director.

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