To view the map, click here. The map’s movable bar does two things: Slide it to the left to view doctor’s offices relative to population (according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns and Populations Estimates programs), and slide it to the right to view primary health providers relative to population (according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ leading health indicators). By looking at the map’s colors, you can quickly see the states and counties with the most need.
As the map indicates, nearly 20% of Americans – and roughly 45% of Iowans – live in rural areas. Yet only 9% of the country’s physicians provide care to this population, according to the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration.
In Iowa’s Taylor County (population 6,344), for example, there are no doctor’s offices or primary care providers.
Thirteen other Iowa counties have a “very high need” for doctor’s offices and primary care providers:
Twelve other Iowa counties have been identified as “high need” for doctor’s offices and primary care providers.
These rural and underserved Iowa communities offer great opportunity for growth in healthcare services in the coming years. If you’re considering a career in healthcare, or are studying in a health-related field, Iowa offers many job opportunities:
In some cases, there are even financial rewards associated with practicing in Iowa. The University of Iowa’s new loan repayment program pays medical students up to $100,000 for practicing for five years in qualifying rural areas after residencies.
Between 2000 and 2011, Iowa’s Latino population had already increased by more than 91%. Currently, Latinos make up about 5% of Iowa’s total population; that number will increase to 13% by 2040.
Compared to the rest of Iowa’s population, Latinos face higher rates of poverty, are more likely to lack health insurance, and are less likely to havea high school education. Obesity and chronic diseases like diabetes are health issues often faced by Latino children and adults.
Cultural differences and language barriers can also affect how certain ethnicities react to illness, respond to symptoms, seek medical care, and perceive health professionals. All of this ultimately affects how different people react and respond to the same illnesses and treatments.
Another emerging aspect in healthcare diversity is ethnopharmacology, which is the scientific study of ethnic groups and their use of psychoactive drugs. Research has shown that ethnic make-up can affect drug response and effectiveness in certain ethnicities. For instance, African-Americans may have a greater risk of developing delirium from tricyclic antidepressants.
Because of Iowa’s growing diversity, the University of Iowa College of Public Health is working to develop a community-wide survey in Ottumwa, IA (a town with a growing Latino population), that will investigate quality of life and health behaviors in this population. Once the survey is complete, the team will share results with the community and then work together to address major health concerns.
If you’re interested in learning more about how Iowa’s increasingly diverse population is affecting healthcare services, contact us today! Or sign up for a job shadow to learn more about public health professionals and how they play a role in addressing the unique needs of a population’s health.]]>
By 2020, it is projected that Iowa will experience a shortage of up to 10,000 employees in the public health field. Is public health a career path you might consider? There are several job possibilities:
The Central Iowa AHEC program recently established an initiative to expose Iowa high school students to public health careers. Called Youth Building Healthy Communities (YBHC), its goal is provide hands-on experiences and service learning projects. Participants work together on creating and facilitating health projects within their own communities.
If you’re interested in participating in the YBHC program, or want to job shadow a public health professional, contact us today!]]>
Interprofessional healthcare transcends traditional boundaries to establish a collaborative approach to patient care. When health professionals from different backgrounds come together to form a team with patients, families, caregivers, and communities, it improves patient care and satisfaction.
To encourage this type of practice, schools are focusing on interprofessional education to develop healthcare students as future interprofessional team members (a recommendation suggested by the Institute of Medicine).
Interprofessional education allows health professions students to learn how to work together to meet the needs of patients.
Because of this emphasis on interprofessional education, University of Iowa College of Public Health students have formed a group dedicated to interprofessional education called Students for Interprofessional Education (SIPE). This group allows students to learn about the roles of other healthcare professionals, and how these professionals interact and collaborate as a healthcare team.
SIPE hosted an event in March 2013 that brought together students and faculty from pharmacy, public health, dentistry, nursing, and medicine to discuss the benefits of team-based healthcare. Through a fictional health-related scenario created just for this event, students and faculty took part in interactive activities and explored different professional roles and responsibilities.
Students split into small groups led by faculty facilitators from different health disciplines. The groups talked through the clinical simulation presented at the event, and discussed how different healthcare professions play a part in caring for patients.
If you’re interested in learning more about interprofessional education or exploring a career in healthcare, contact us today!]]>
While you’re in high school, taking a day to visit a med school can help you decide whether a healthcare career is for you. Here are some of the cool things you might learn or encounter if you make the trip:
If you’re interested in learning more about medical school or exploring a career in healthcare in Iowa, contact us today!]]>
According to the American Psychological Association, this stress can cause headaches, muscle tension and pain, fatigue, upset stomach, insomnia, anxiety, and lack of motivation and focus. If these side effects get in the way, it makes it even harder for you to focus and achieve your goals.
Learning to manage stress in a healthy way will help you as you move through high school and college, and as you pursue a career in healthcare. Here are some quick, healthy ways to relieve some of the pressure you face on a daily basis.
Do some jumping jacks. Or take a five-minute walk, dance to a song, or climb some stairs. Moving your body, no matter how briefly, can stop your body’s stress response and change your mood.
Go outside. Fresh air may boost oxygen flow to the brain, and changing your surroundings can help reduce your stress.
Listen to relaxing music. Classical music may not be your favorite, but studies show it has a relaxing effect on brain waves. Relaxing music can help calm you down, and help you re-focus.
Unplug. Spend some time away from the computer, smartphone, tablet, TV, and radio. Silence can help you feel more relaxed. Increasingly, researchers are finding that artificial light from some devices (especially when used at night) can confuse the brain chemicals that promote sleep. In a recent study, exposure to light from tablets considerably lowered melatonin levels, which regulate your internal clocks and play a role in the sleep cycle.
Make a to-do list. Writing down a list of things you want to accomplish for the day or week can help you stay organized, keep you on top of your goals, and provide a feeling of accomplishment as you check each item off the list.
Are there other ways you’ve found to relieve stress from school and work? Let us know! We can also help you set up a job shadow in a profession that helps people deal with daily stress, such as an acupuncturist, massage therapist, or a psychologist.
Check out some of the latest technology being used to improve healthcare across Iowa!
Customized Medication Applications
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics physician Patrick Brophy developed a web and Facebook application called Iowa MedMinder that is customized for each patient. The application features a box displaying the patient’s medication list. When the patient logs into Facebook, that list pops up and asks the user to check off the meds he or she has taken for the day. That info is then relayed back to the physician via the Facebook application, which also can send e-mails and texts, and can be viewed on phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops. The goal is to keep necessary medications front-of-mind for patients.
Chemo Medication Robot
At Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, IA, an i.v.STATION ONCO robot compounds and dispenses injectable chemo medication. Because these drugs are expensive and require careful handling due to the possibility of being poisonous, any preparation mistakes could be lethal to the patient. The i.v.STATION ONCO automates the process, making sure the vial’s contents are correct while minimizing staff exposure to poisons. Check out this i.v.STATION ONCO video to see how it works!
Public Safety Broadband
A new high-speed wireless network acts as a separate, public safety broadband system that EMTs can use in the field. During a demo of how this network will operate, a first-on-the-scene EMT straps on a wireless monitor to relay information out in the field. Through the wireless network, this monitor transmits basic vital sign data from the field wirelessly to any computer, smartphone, or tablet, allowing essential health information to get to the hospital before the patient does.
Want to learn more about the technology being used in Iowa healthcare environments? Contact us today!]]>
The Iowa AHEC Program is a grant-funded organization dedicated to recruiting, training, and retaining the healthcare workforce in Iowa, especially in medically underserved counties.
NEI-AHEC presented its Preceptor of the Year Award for 2013 in conjunction with National Doctor’s Day on March 30. The winner is Dr. James Selenke!
Dr. Selenke is a family medicine provider at Total Health of Iowa in Hudson, IA. He has helped the Iowa AHEC Program accomplish its mission of exposing students to healthcare opportunities in rural and underserved settings as part of their clinical training.
Here are just a few of the comments from the students who nominated Dr. Selenke for this award:
Dr. Selenke has been mentoring students in collaboration with the Iowa AHEC Program since the 2010-2011 academic year. He is frequently requested by students who have benefitted from his influence in the past.
Other honorable mentions for this year include:
The Iowa AHEC Program thanks all preceptors who dedicate their time and energy to student engagement. If you’re a healthcare professional in Iowa who’s interested in mentoring students, please let us know.
If you’re a student who’s interested in a job shadow or spending time with a health professional, contact us!
YES MED Camp
YES MED (Youth Education in Science and Medicine) Camp allows you to live like a medical student for five days, participating in hands-on activities, labs, and lectures. YES MED Camp immerses you in experiences where you’ll learn more about anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, chemistry, and physiology. You’ll also get to work with current medical students in a simulation center to learn more about their med school experiences. Cosponsored by Central Iowa AHEC, Des Moines University, and Drake University, this week-long camp is held June 17-21.
Health Careers Discovery Camp
This camp gives you an opportunity to participate in hands-on activities, learn about health careers, and gain basic knowledge about college applications and financial aid. For three days (June 24-26), you’ll meet healthcare professionals, interact with current Mercy College of Health Sciences (MCHS) students, and visit MCHS’ health programs. By participating in Health Careers Discovery Camp, you’ll have a greater understanding and appreciation for a vast array of health occupations, including physical therapists, medical assistants, nurses, paramedics, surgical and radiologic technologists, and sonographers.
The Iowa AHEC (Area Health Education Center) program and the University of Iowa Colleges of Education have created the only STEM-based healthcare program in Iowa, called E=HC2 (Exploration = Healthcare Career Connection). If your high school participates in this program, you’ll attend six sessions to learn more about healthcare careers. The information shared during these sessions can help identify your interests and find careers that might be a good fit. You’ll also learn about the biggest health problems in Iowa communities, and ways that jobs in healthcare can fix these issues. If you’d like to attend an E=HC2 program in 2013-2014, let us or your school know!
DMU Health PASS Program
Des Moines University’s Health Professions Advanced Summer Scholars (Health PASS) program, held June 10-28, 2013, is geared toward sophomores and juniors from populations underrepresented in healthcare. Health PASS offers a first-hand look at what it’s like to be a medical, physician assistant, or physical therapy student through participation in lectures and presentations, hands-on experiences in a simulation center, shadowing doctors, and participating in mock interviews. Although the enrollment deadline has passed for 2013, mark your calendar for next year because this program occurs annually.
Why are AHECs so important to the healthcare industry? What do they bring to their local communities? In celebration of National AHEC Week this week, we recognize some AHEC achievements and what these centers do to improve their communities.
AHECs dispel the myths of rural healthcare, like they did for this pre-med student who spent time with a physician to get a better understanding of rural medicine. This undergraduate learned about the broad spectrum of family medicine and what a physician offers to local hospitals and clinics.
AHECs offer innovative, hands-on health careers curriculum for K-12 students so they can decide if a healthcare career is of interest to them. Workshops and camps like Health Careers Discovery Camp or YES MED give students the chance to learn about healthcare careers, spend a week in med school, and gain knowledge about financial aid and college planning.
AHECs bring programming to local schools to guide students with goal setting and educational planning. The Iowa AHEC Program has partnered with the University of Iowa Colleges of Education to create the only STEM-based healthcare program in Iowa, called E=HC2 (Exploration = Healthcare Career Connection).
AHECs impact the wellness of military families by educating civilian health professionals about deployment‐related mental and behavioral health issues of service members, veterans, and their families.
AHECs coordinate job shadows so students can spend time on the job with real-life healthcare professionals in the towns they call home.
We can help you get involved with your local AHEC center today! Contact us for more information.]]>