Rural Health School starts again at health care system

This article submitted by Michael Jacobson on 7/28/99.

Rural health school A multidisciplinary approach to studying medicine is being used by students in three medical fields at the Paynesville Area Health Care System.

Another session of the University of Minnesota's Rural Health School started for four students last week. Under the direction of Dr. Laura Odell, pharmD at the Paynesville Area Medical Clinic and site coordinator for the Rural Health School, the students will be investigating rural health issues, including issues for adolescents, occupational safety, rural public health services, alternative medicine, and farm safety. (For farm safety, the group is looking for an area farm to tour.)

Additionally, the group will be researching and presenting a community health project, based on a need in our local community.

Participating in the ten-week program are: (L to R) J.D. Anderson, Leann Kirby, Dan Lillquist, and Terry Johnson.

The program started during the weekend of July 17 and 18 with a retreat near Staples. All the students attended along with Odell and Gene Beavers, P.A. Other Rural Health School programs this summer are being held in Hibbing, New Ulm, and Willmar, and they had representatives at the retreat as well.

The ten-week program lasts until Sept. 21. The students meet all day on Tuesdays.

J.D. Anderson is in the doctor of pharmacy program at the University of Minnesota. He is studying at PAHCS under Dr. Odell for ten weeks as part of his scheduled rotations, in addition to the Rural Health School on Tuesdays. In his fourth year of the pharmD program, he will graduate next May.

Terry Johnson is a Paynesville resident and a practicing pharmacist in Litchfield. He is part of a new program at the University that caters to practicing pharmacists becoming doctors of pharmacy. Johnson works full time and studies on an independent basis. The program uses e-mail for tests and quizzes. He has completed a year of this nontraditional schooling and hopes to earn his doctorate in three years. He wants to get away from dispensing drugs and become more involved in education.

Dan Lillquist is a second-year physician assistant student at Augsburg College, who has been doing a preceptorship at PAHCS since May. While in Paynesville, he will be completing rotations in family medicine, pediatrics, internal medicine, and obstetrics. His obstetrics rotation was just recently approved and Lillquist will now be staying here until November. He graduates in August 2000.

Leann Kirby is an occupational therapist who is going back to school to earn a master's degree in public health administration, which deals more with community health than with individual patients. She is in Paynesville just on Tuesdays for the Rural Health School. "This program is nice because it looks at the community at large," she said. "That fits in with public health." She should finish her degree by the end of the year.

Johnson noted that the make-up of the student body in itself insures the Rural Health School a multidisciplinary approach. Discussions will be held on different medical cases, and the diversity of the group leads to a diversity of views. "They bring their own discipline into it and come up with a total care plan, not a discipline-specific one," said Odell.

The group also will have discussions with the students at the other Rural Health School sites using interactive television.

Soon the group will choose a community project to research. "Whatever project we decide on, everyone will be using their discipline," said Lillquist.

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