Warm Springs scholars get medical training
A unique partnership is helping two young women, both members of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, gain experience in the medical field.
Kaliyah Iverson and Lynden Harry were selected several years ago to take part in the Tribal Health Scholars Summer Internship through On Track OHSU — a health science outreach program that works with students starting in sixth grade and following them through high school and college.
After successfully applying for and being awarded funding from the Higher Education Coordinating Commission's Future Ready Warm Springs Program, East Cascades Works teamed up with leaders in the health care industry and local youth-serving organizations to implement the Tribal Health Scholars Summer Internship Program — a unique opportunity for young people from the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.
"The Tribal Health Scholars Summer Internship Program is just one example of the work that we are doing as part of the Future Ready Warm Springs Project," said Heather Ficht, executive director of East Cascades Works. "We are incredibly lucky to have the support of the HECC, and realize that we could not have an impact in our Central Oregon communities, if it were not for our partners."
EC Works and Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council have partnered with On Track OHSU and St. Charles Health System to offer a comprehensive summer internship program in the fields of general medicine and physical and occupational therapy throughout the St. Charles Health System.
Josh Lagalo, Youth Employment Program manager at COIC, was instrumental in ensuring success throughout the summer. He and his team served as the official employer of record and worked directly with the youths and other partners to mitigate, and immediately address barriers, such as transportation, that might have otherwise been a hurdle.
"COIC is immensely proud to be part of the Tribal Health Scholars Program," said Lagalo. "Working with this team and with these youth was inspirational, as their drive and dedication to their career goals is both admirable and infectious."
On Track first began working with students like Harry and Iverson in 2015, and has since provided firsthand experiences in health and science fields to tribal students.
"This experience has been very educational and has allowed me to learn about other health professions that I had no prior knowledge of," said Harry, a Warm Springs Tribal Health Scholar from the Madras High School class of 2018. "St. Charles has helped me solidify my desire to pursue physical therapy with special interest in working with athletes."
By leveraging already strong relationships with health care industry leaders, EC Works was able to team up with St. Charles to tailor a summer program that would provide on-the-job experience in their specific field of medicine.
Iverson and Harry were both assigned a preceptor, or mentor, to help guide them through their experience; which took place in the various St. Charles hospitals throughout the region.
Iverson focused on general medicine, inpatient and outpatient care, triage, surgery and diagnostics, while Harry's focus was specific to rehabilitation, with an emphasis on acute inpatient care in physical and occupational therapy.
"St. Charles Outpatient Rehab in Madras, Prineville and Redmond had an incredible opportunity to partner with EC Works to provide invaluable observation experiences to two young women, who are Tribal Health Scholars, looking to pursue career paths in health care," said Courtney Paresa, who hold a doctorate in physical therapy and works at St. Charles Prineville Outpatient Rehabilitation.
"This partnership allowed these two women to experience all aspects of rehabilitation and several other medical lines of services within St. Charles Health System," Paresa continued. "There is no greater educational experience than direct observation with clinical specialists. We wish Lynden and Kaliyah all the best in their studies and hope they return to join our team, serving all of our community members and helping us provide better services for those who reside in Warm Springs."
Both Iverson and Harry are set to complete their full-time, eight-week comprehensive experience with a final rotation at the Warm Springs Tribal Health Clinic.
As their summer program wraps up, and prior to returning to school, Iverson and Harry will also participate in a media and outreach program in partnership with OHSU, to inspire other young people to pursue their career dreams, and ultimately return to their community in Central Oregon.
"At St. Charles, we believe in the value of growing our own future health care providers and are proud to be a part of this program," said David Golda, vice president and hospital administrator at St. Charles Madras. "It is our hope that after having an in-depth experience with our teams, these students will one day choose to return to Central Oregon as health care providers and official members of the St. Charles family."
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