Northern Light Health Program Brings Morehouse School of Medicine Students to Maine
Group of MSM Physician Assistant Studies Students have traveled all the way up the East Coast to get hands-on medical experience in rural Maine communities.
(L-R) Hillary Birago, Madeleine Vinet, Katherine Bandstra, and Detavius Veal are completing clinical clerkships at rural healthcare centers in Maine.
By David Ledford, Fox Bangor
BREWER, Maine — A new hands-on training program aims to expand access to rural health care and diversify Maine's workforce.
Northern Light Health has teamed up with a Georgia medical school to bring out-of-state physician assistant students to Maine.
"The idea is to bring them to Maine, do their clerkship training here in our clinics and rural medicine areas -- to provide more patient access to all of our patients in Maine," said Darmita Wilson, vice president of Northern Light Medical Group.
Students from Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta have traveled all the way up the East Coast to get hands-on medical experience in rural Maine communities.
"I'd like to be able to interact with patients and give them a positive experience," said Detavius Veal, physician assistant student at the Morehouse School of Medicine. "Meet them where they are in those rural communities and get them the access they need."
After arriving last month, the program's first students have been sent to both Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor and AR Gould Hospital in Presque Isle -- where they've been getting mentored by local physicians.
"Most of my family comes from Ghana, West Africa, and they had to do a lot for themselves due to a lack of access to healthcare," said Hillary Birago, physician assistant student at the Morehouse School of Medicine. "Presque Isle... I feel like this is kind of the community that I want to work with."
Wilson says it's important for people to feel represented when they visit their doctors, and they're hoping this program will help with that.
"Maine is a diverse community, it really is. We know, through basic data, that people do better when they have providers that kind of look like them," said Wilson.
Wilson hopes the experience will encourage some of the students to stick around.
"This will give us a pathway to new talent to show them what Maine is about and see if they'd be willing to spend some of their career here and try to recruit them, if we can," said Wilson.