Hundreds of medical students at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha are working with health care professionals from across the state as part of their education requirement. Dr. Mike Sitorius is the chairman of the Department of Family Medicine at UNMC and has been involved with this program for many years. The program itself is celebrating its 20th anniversary but students have been going to rural areas since the 1950’s.
Students from the College of Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Allied Health Professions and the College of Nursing are all taking part in the program. Dr. Sitorius says this gives students to see the benefits and opportunities of practicing medicine in a rural environment but also the challenges. Another benefit is some students decide to return to rural areas after graduation to practice medicine in these underserved areas.
Students usually spend between four to eight weeks at health care facilities outside of Omaha. Cities with clinics, dental offices and pharmacies taking part include: Albion, Alliance, Ashland, Aurora, Beatrice, Bellevue, Boys Town, Broken Bow, Callaway, Cambridge, Central City, Chadron, Columbus, Cozad, Crawford, Creighton, Crete, David City, Elkhorn, Fairbury, Fremont, Geneva, Gering, Gothenburg, Grand Island, Gretna, Hastings, Holdrege, Kearney, La Vista, Lexington, Lincoln, McCook, Nebraska City, Norfolk, North Platte, Oakland, Ogallala, O’Neill, Ord, Papillion, Pawnee City, Plattsmouth, Schuyler, Scottsbluff, Seward, Sidney, St. Paul, Superior, Tecumseh, Tilden, Valentine, Wahoo and York.