December 2017 Newsletter
It will soon be the darkest day of the year. Yet it is also the season to give thanks. One of my patients has lost much in his life, but not his optimism. Last week he noted that as each day goes by this winter we are one day closer to spring. Optimism for the future. I don’t think we are in dark days, but the health care system is in great flux. Yet CHCW keeps looking toward the future.
Don’t we look different in our 25th year. When I became program director with over a decade of residency teaching experience nearly a decade and a half ago I was the second youngest member of the faculty. Now, the super majority of faculty have less than a decade of experience. But it wasn’t just age then – we were monolingual, overwhelming caucasian, our OB program was waning, and in the hospitals we used paper charts. For any institution to survive there needs to be changes including succession. In 2004 the age of the faculty was an issue. Now we are fortunate to have numerous early career faculty who are dynamic, energetic, and want to further improve the program. Our teaching program has a robust inpatient service, OB service, and a clinic that our applicants call top notch. We‘ve started a psychology internship program and our residents return to a longitudinal geriatric experience in January. Along the way CHCW as a whole provides direct service in our medical and dental clinics, nursing homes and hospitals in two counties. Through our direct service many with significant needs in Ellensburg, Highland, Naches, and Yakima and the surrounding communities receive needed care. Our mission of service delivers care to thousands each year. Our education provides the training to a future workforce and sends forth physicians who care for many others. With nearly 150 practicing graduates, each serving 1500-2000 patients, our graduates serve as the family physician for over a quarter million people.
Our direct service, coupled with a mission of education, enables us to serve hundreds of thousands of patients directly and through our graduates. I am thankful for the board that supports our work and the staff — on all levels from the front desk to CEO — that train our doctors and provide care to our patients.
Russell Maier, MD