For Immediate Release
September 9, 2010
Columbia Basin Health Association Receives Rural Health Workforce Development Grant
Othello, WA – The Heath Resources & Services Administration through its Office of Rural Policy has awarded Columbia Basin Health Association (CBHA) funding to develop the new South Central Washington Academic-Practice Network. Through this new grant program CBHA and its network partners will increase the availability of high quality, culturally competent primary care physicians providing care for underserved and vulnerable populations in the target service area of south central Washington. Network partners include Pacific Northwest University (PNWU), Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic (YVFWC), and the Eastern Washington AHEC (Area Health Education Center).
The goals of the proposed Academic-Practice Network are: to provide PNWU medical students with training opportunities within culturally competent, community-focused rural community/migrant health centers; to provide meaningful service learning opportunities for students to build and reinforce ties to local communities; to enhance recruitment and retention of needed healthcare professionals by rural community/migrant health centers; and to identify innovative approaches for using the network model to train PNWU medical students in rural community/migrant health centers.
The Network Grant allows CBHA and its partners to develop a “best practices” program for Academic-Practice Partnerships. With the help of this grant funding the South Central Washington Academic-Practice Network will utilize a model developed by Kansas Public Health Workforce and Leadership Development (WALD) Center. The WALD model implements health education and training projects through a collaborative process of health needs identification, program conceptualization, research, and program evaluation allowing for continuous practitioner-oriented program development. CBHA and its Network partners will take this model and build upon it by adding a rural focus to the model in order to give students a more comprehensive educational experience.
“One of the reasons CBHA is able to recruit high-quality providers is because of its array of premium learning opportunities and partnerships. Many of our providers signed a contract after experiencing a rotation with us. This grant allows us to keep recruiting the outstanding providers that our communities are accustomed to,” said Greg Brandenburg, CEO of CBHA. Brandenburg’s sentiment was echoed by Christopher Blodget, Director for AHEC. Blodget said; “Creating multiple experiences for medical students to experience rural life and learn from rural residents helps new doctors commit to careers in rural America. This grant creates a range of community-based experiences to show students why rural practice is the high value option to explore.”
The grant will provide the resources necessary for network members to assess member, healthcare workforce and community needs. Network members will also focus on feedback provided by participants in the PNWU student learning opportunities in order to facilitate and coordinate an evolving program that will continually meet the needs of its stakeholders.