As a fourth year medical student, I had a unique experience to participate in the REHPs
program as part of my elective credits. I am going into family medicine, so gaining a full
understanding of rural health, the roles of primary health care providers, and the integrated health
care team will be invaluable to my future career. The Winner Regional healthcare community
provided an excellent opportunity to explore and collaborate with many different disciplines
within the healthcare system.
Sami Boeck, an SDSU pharmacy student, joined me during the four weeks in Winner. It
was great to have a student in another discipline to work with and learn from. We had a blast
exploring the town together and meeting members of the community.
My experience in Winner reiterated the necessary qualities of a healthcare provider in a
rural area. They must be skilled and confident enough to provide a wide array of services at a
high quality, caring for all ages and most conditions. At the same time though, a provider must be
humble enough to acknowledge when the skills or resources of the facility are not adequate to
care for a patients needs, to know when to ask for help. I had the opportunity to see this
exemplified by many of the providers I worked with throughout my REHPs experience.
One of the most meaningful opportunities we had during our third week, was to
participate in the community health fair. We chose to present on diabetic education and provide
free blood sugar testing, as diabetes is extremely prevalent in the Winner population and
surrounding area. The Winner HealthMart Pharmacy generously donated blood sugar testing
strips and Winner Regional donated the other testing supplies. We created educational handouts
and answered many questions of the participating community members.
Overall, my REHPs experience in Winner was a great asset to my medical school
education. I gained a greater appreciation for the interdisciplinary relationships and immense
responsibilities of rural healthcare providers.