June 2018 Newsletter

Nebraska AHEC Update: The Newsletter of the Nebraska Area Health Education Center Program

Connecting Students to Health Careers, Health Professionals to Communities, and Communities to Better Health.

New Workshop Draws Undergraduate Students from State’s Health Opportunities Programs

Students interested in a career in health care get weeklong preview of UNMC and their future profession

1.1Twelve undergraduate students from Chadron State College, University of Nebraska at Kearney, University of Nebraska Omaha, and Wayne State College who plan to pursue a health career spent May 14-18 at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) participating in the ‘Health Professions Opportunities Workshop: Integration of Prevention and Population Health Across the Health Professions.”

Each of the students are active in the Rural Health Opportunities Program (RHOP), Kearney Health Opportunities Program (KHOP) or Urban Health Opportunities Program (UHOP).  These early admission programs are designed to address the unique needs of rural and urban underserved Nebraska by encouraging residents from those areas to pursue a career in the health care fields. Students selected are guaranteed admission to UNMC as long as all stated requirements are met.

1.2The workshop, sponsored by the Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Program, UNMC Department of Family Medicine, and UNMC Primary Care Center, was designed to augment efforts statewide to address health workforce needs and enhance the students’ interest to practice primary care in rural and urban underserved areas.

Eve Vanderneck, RHOP pre-med student at Chadron State College, stated about her experience, “I have become so excited to pursue my medical career dreams due to being at UNMC this week. (This opportunity) has been an extra positive reinforcement to keep me motivated in undergrad . . . Being exposed to an understaffed Community Health Center challenged me to face the bigger issue ahead of misdistribution of care in rural Nebraska. I hope to be part of the difference as I grow."

Jaden Schafer of Stuart, NE who is enrolled in the RHOP pre-medicine program at Wayne State College expressed, "This course opened my eyes to the huge need for primary care practitioners of all health care disciplines in rural Nebraska. The experience strengthened my desire to be a primary care physician and be in this learning environment."

During the weeklong workshop, the interprofessional student teams had the opportunity to learn from UNMC faculty members about the issues they will face as practitioners through theory and the personal stories and experiences of the faculty. Students gained hands-on experience by participating in a patient care simulation through UNMC’s Clinical Simulation Lab, shadowed health care providers in rural health care facilities, and concluded the week by presenting group research projects on core topics they had learned about throughout the workshop.

The students that attended the workshop, along with their hometown and the undergraduate institution they attend are listed below.

This workshop is one example of how the Nebraska AHEC Program aims to achieve the vision of helping lead the transformation of health care education and services in Nebraska.

(Pictured: Daniela Cortez Reyes of UNO, Alaini Priebe of UNK, & Ayza Bolanos of UNO getting hands-on experience performing a clinical simulation during the workshop.)
(Pictured: Students that participated in the 2018 Health Professions Opportunities Workshop.)

Nebraska AHEC Scholars Program for Health Professions Students Preparing to Launch

Applications will open in July and be accepted through September 12

scholarsThe Nebraska AHEC Program is working to address the state’s health care workforce needs through several intentional efforts to improve the diversity and distribution of health professionals.  The development and implementation of the Nebraska AHEC (NE AHEC) Scholars Program is one key strategy for doing that. 

The NE AHEC Scholars Program is a longitudinal program for students enrolled in health profession training programs across the state. By supporting a diverse group of students from across the state, the program will help develop multidisciplinary teams of health professionals committed transforming health care delivery in Nebraska.

The NE AHEC Scholars Program is part of a national initiative driven by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Area Health Education Centers Program.  Scholars develop new skills and are introduced to an interprofessional framework that will be crucial for improving health and health care.

Health profession students accepted into the two-year program will receive enhanced education and community-based clinical training opportunities in rural and urban underserved areas of Nebraska.  Through forty-hours annually of both didactic and community-based clinical training, students will gain the skills necessary to set them apart from their peers and provide them the knowledge and experience to enter the workforce ready for success.

The Program’s foundation is centered around the core topic areas detailed below and is aimed at providing additional and supplemental knowledge that will help the enrolled students and future practitioners thrive in the ever-changing health care delivery system.

Practice Transformation - aims to address the changing health care delivery system and improving communication and leadership to support patient-centered and team-based models of care.

To become a NE AHEC Scholar, individuals must:

Applications for the 2018-2019 academic year will open in July and will be accepted through September 12, 2018. If you are interested in applying for the program or would like to learn more, visit the NE AHEC Scholars Program website by clicking here.

2018 8th Grade State Science Experience Exposes Students from Across Nebraska to Science and Health

26th annual event inspired students through hands-on activities


3.1The Nebraska AHEC Program annually hosts the 8th Grade State Science Experience to inspire students’ interest in science and health care by providing a fun and educational program. On June 7-9, 2018 forty-two eighth grade students from twenty-three schools across Nebraska participated in the Experience.

The two-and-a-half day program began with an introduction to science as the students experienced a science show from CAPOW! and learned about biomechanics from the Department of Biomechanics at the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO). Students spent a full day at the UNMC Omaha campus and gained exposure to a multitude of health disciplines including pathology, pharmacy, public health, and others. Additionally, students had the opportunity to experience hands-on simulation activities with the Simulation in Motion Nebraska (SIM-NE) Program.

3.2New this year, students gained valuable team development and leadership skills at Omaha Outward Bound School. Instructors guided the students through a mindfulness exercise as well as challenging them to use their communication and critical thinking skills in activities like arranging themselves by birthdate order without talking.

The State Science Experience concluded with a trip to Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.  While there, students learned about amphibian conservation efforts from a zoo researcher and spent time exploring all that the zoo has to offer.

3.3To qualify for the State Science Experience, students present science projects in one of seven regional science meets hosted by the Nebraska Area Health Education Centers earlier in the year.  The regional meets were generously sponsored by the Coalition for Life Saving Cures and UNMC. Students with the top scores were invited to attend.

Representatives from Nebraska’s five AHEC centers were able to demonstrate the vital role that the AHEC centers across the state can play as students interested in science or health careers look for opportunities in their own communities.  In addition to working with 8th grade students, the Experience allowed health profession students at UNMC the opportunity to share with students their experience in getting through school and the lessons and encouragement they received along the way. Two medical students, Dapo Akinmoladun and Victoria Shum and three pharmacy students, Melissa Malone, Andy Stoecklein, and Madeline Blaha, served as chaperones.

To sum it up from the perspective of one student, Carter Hasemann of Wayne, NE stated, “This was very fun. All of the activities were awesome. This was very well planned. I really enjoyed everything.”

(Pictured: Students and chaperones at the 2018 State Science Experience.)

(Pictured: Ethan Eckhardt from Dalton and Kaylee Ramold from Neligh using prosthetic hands during the biomechanics workshop.)

(Pictured: Courtney Brink from Wayne and Emily Mlnarik from Neligh experiencing the simulation activity in the SIM-NE truck.)

From the Northern Nebraska AHEC Center:

HPV Immunization Project Provides Message of Cancer Prevention to Providers Nebraska

4Working to create better communities of health can be expansive and time consuming; however, this hasn’t stopped Northern Nebraska AHEC (NNAHEC) as they work to strengthen HPV vaccination rates within Nebraska’s communities. Through a National AHEC Organization grant, NNAHEC serves as the lead for the nationwide project and is spearheading efforts in NE to educate health professionals about the HPV vaccine. Executive Director Gretchen Forsell serves as project director and Trisha Thompson, Program Coordinator for NNAHEC, serves as the project manager.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause cancer and other infections. HPV is a common virus affecting nearly 80 million people in the United States. About 14 million people, including teens, become infected with HPV each year. The HPV vaccine is important because it protects against cancers caused by HPV infection. The CDC recommends youth ages 11 or 12 years old should get two shots of HPV vaccine six to twelve months apart. Currently, HPV vaccination rates in Nebraska are only at sixty-three percent. The CDC encourages parents talk with their child’s provider regarding HPV cancer prevention.

NNAHEC provides training to health professionals on this topic in a multitude of ways. Recently, they sponsored, in conjunction with the American Cancer Society, a day-long HPV Summit and Roundtable discussion for health professionals. During the trainings, health professionals receive education surrounding HPV and are urged to recommend the HPV vaccine the same way they would recommend other adolescent vaccines.  Another method NNAHEC uses to increase access to training for health care providers is through the use of webinars.

“Using webinar technology allows us to reach those health care providers who can’t frequently travel away from their practice to receive quality continuing education,” said NNAHEC Executive Director Gretchen Forsell. “We’ve found we’re able to make an impact especially in those rural, frontier and underserved areas – the providers who don’t have access to large-scale quality improvement projects most often available in urban settings.”

If you are interested in learning more about the HPV project or upcoming trainings, contact Gretchen Forsell at gforsell@nnahec.org or 402-644-7253.

From the Central Nebraska AHEC Center:

KHOP Students Visited Jennie M. Melham Memorial Medical Center to Gain Insight into Rural Health Care

5Twenty-five students who attend the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) and are enrolled in the Kearney Health Opportunity Program (KHOP) recently visited Jennie M. Melham Memorial Medical Center in Broken Bow, NE, a rural critical access hospital. The visit was intended to help students understand what a ‘day in the life’ of a health professional looks like as well as experience a rural health care setting unknown to them.

Students toured the hospital and were able to see the emergency room’s LUCAS CPR device, an automated CPR machine, and where pharmacy staff create IV treatments. Students also participated in an interactive panel with health care providers from different disciplines ranging from a physician assistant to a medical lab technician to showcase the need for an interprofessional team of health care providers to deliver quality care. Questions during the panel ranged from what a typical day is like to what the providers liked most about working in a rural community. The health care providers shared that they most enjoy investing their time and experience in the community where they live and work. The practitioners shared that one benefit to working in a rural community is the variety of illnesses, injuries, and patients they see on a daily basis. This requires keeping their clinical skills sharp and continually learning new skills.  

Students shared that the visit increased their desire to work in a rural setting. One student expressed their enthusiasm by saying the experience, “Made me more excited about rural health care!”

Central Nebraska AHEC facilitated this visit to expand the students’ knowledge about health care especially in a rural setting.

(Pictured: KHOP Students from University of Nebraska at Kearney visiting a rural critical access hospital.)

From the Nebraska Panhandle AHEC Center:

Scottsbluff High School’s Health Sciences Career Academy Introduces Students to Health Professions

6On April 4, 2018, the Nebraska Panhandle AHEC exposed fifty Scottsbluff High School students to a variety of health care career opportunities. Scottsbluff High School’s Health Sciences Career Academy is one of six Career Academies that students select from at the end of their sophomore year.

The students who participated selected the Health Sciences Career Academy as their career pathway. Nebraska Panhandle AHEC partners twice annually with the Academy to introduce students to health care and provide opportunities for enhanced engagement in health-related activities.

UNMC nursing students from the Scottsbluff campus instructed hands-on, experiential activities. Break-out sessions during the event included: requirements for nursing programs, the proper application of sterile gloves, health trivia competition on the iWall (an interactive digital wall utilizing 3D technology and augmented virtual reality), tour of the SIM-NE truck, and an anatomage table demonstration (a 3D medical imaging table).

Students completed anonymous evaluations, but provided comments such as, “This tour made me grow even more interested in the health career field,’ and “thank you for providing such an amazing experience. The technology was amazing and I can see how well people can learn from it. I hope we can do another experience like this again.”

The Nebraska Panhandle AHEC looks forward to partnering monthly with the Scottsbluff High School’s Health Sciences Career Academy next school year.

(Pictured: High school students participating in the Health Sciences Career Academy.)

From the Omaha AHEC Center:

In the Spotlight: Meet Health Careers Institute Alumni, Makayla Bell

7Makayla Bell was accepted into Omaha AHEC Health Careers Institute in the fall of 2010 and participated through her senior year. The Omaha AHEC Health Careers Institute, or as it is known to students the HCI Program, is one student program offered by the Omaha AHEC Center. The 9th-12th grade program is a comprehensive multi-year program that exposes, educates, and prepares students for a career in health care. As part of this program, each HCI graduate is prepared for admission for a health career training program and have gained valuable experience, e.g. job shadowing experience, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) training.

Before joining the program, Makayla was interested in becoming a lawyer, but it didn’t take long for her desire to change as she began to explore her options and interests. In 2013, Makayla graduated from Omaha Northwest High School interested in Pharmacy.  As she pursued her undergraduate studies at the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO), she discovered a passion for public health. On May 4, 2018 she graduated Magna Cum Laude from UNO with a Bachelor's degree in Sociology with a concentration in health and society, a minor in Black Studies, and a second Bachelor's degree in Public Health. Makayla will further pursue her Public Health interests as a graduate student in UNO’s Urban Studies Graduate Program.

Makayla is a shining example of how engaging students and facilitating enhanced experiences can inspire their interest in becoming a health professional.

Omaha AHEC’s HCI Program creates opportunities for students to be introduced into a health profession on a continual basis in hopes to further their interest into a career. Additionally, Omaha AHEC provides job shadowing opportunities outside of the HCI Program. If you know a high school or college student in Douglas or Sarpy counties, Omaha AHEC is accepting registrations for Summer Job Shadowing opportunities. To be eligible, students must be at least 16 years of age and successfully complete a HIPAA training course. For more information call Omaha AHEC at (402) 502-1593.

(Pictured: Makayla Bell after her graduation from UNO.)

From the Southeast Nebraska AHEC Center:

8th Grade Students from Southeast Nebraska show their Science Savvy

8Southeast Nebraska AHEC (SE NE AHEC) kicked off their spring by hosting two regional science meets held February 26 and March 13. Eighth grade students from five schools in the seventeen-county region competed in meets held in Beatrice, NE. During the meets, students were able to present their science project to judges while also taking part in several hands-on sessions related to health.

At both meets, students participated in three health experiences sessions consisting of a CPR training, where Public Health Solutions’ Kate Lange taught students to check for breathing and how to maintain 100-120 chest compressions per minute. Bryan Health’s “Stop the Bleed” taught participants how to treat a bleeding wound before emergency medical services can reach a victim. And the SIM-NE truck exposed the students to a simulated cardiac arrest and use of a defibrillator.  

Collectively, these activities helped students learn different health skills and get them get excited about a future career in science or health care.

The science meets were sponsored by the Nebraska Coalition for Life Saving Cures and the Nebraska AHEC Program.

The highest-scoring projects from each meet were invited to attend the State Science Experience at UNMC.

(Pictured: An 8th grade student telling a judge about his science experiment.)