Newsletter Aug 2017

Posted on August 8, 2017 in Program News

Service and Education.  All of us came through an educational system to end up where we are.  As a learner, we don’t often let our teachers know about their impact on us.  Last week I received a letter from a Peace Corps volunteer I met briefly in Togo, West Africa 4 years ago.  Now she is in medical school and wrote to let me know how that brief encounter led to a career change and entry into medical school. You all have these impactful interactions every day with the staff at CHCW.

Dr Udell, who directs our medical student rotations, recently received heartwarming feedback on the work you all do.  Here is the interaction she recently wrote about:

Yesterday I met with Carolyn Craig, our medical student from the University of Washington who just finished her 3rd year clerkship rotation at CWFM. At the end of her evaluation, she wanted me to make sure that I passed on kudos to our clinic.

This is the 1st year that the UW is condensing 2 years’ worth of classroom time into 18 months. She noted that several of her classmates, as well as herself, were burnt out and questioning their choice to pursue a career in medicine after this unrelenting and intense period. Carolyn shadowed physicians in Seattle as part of her 18 months, noting that all preceptors discussed how burnt out and unhappy they were in their job. The UWSOM class was proactive in seeking additional help from the school, but didn’t find a sympathetic ear. The UW brought in physicians to initiate conversations with students, but basically the school’s message was to suck it up. This is the field that they had chosen. Leaders were chosen to talk about time management and life balance, but again the message was more of the same…this is medicine…suck it up…you are whining because you are millennials.

Prior to starting this rotation, Carolyn seriously thought about not even showing up. She already was looking at other career choices.

After her 6 weeks here, Carolyn cannot thank our clinic enough for shedding light on what medicine can be. She noted that people here are happy…maybe tired at times, and sometimes a bit grumpy…but we laughed and enjoyed each other. She appreciated when an attending/resident would say “oh, this is one of my favorite patients”, because they are real human beings, not just another number. We were real about the struggles of medicine… that we have good days and bad…but have to integrate life to make sure we balance out the hard times. We actually LISTENED to her, the student, and included her into our lives and made her feel part of our family. We showed the love for our work helping others, and appreciation and respect for each other and our patients.

It is because of our clinic that Carolyn has decided to continue to pursue her career in medicine.

Carolyn gave special thanks to the BHC’s, Amie Shah, Sandy Msutta, Brian Lear, and Katina Rue for taking the time to teach her and let her into your lives.

Thank you to all who spent time with Carolyn. Even if you felt that your contribution may have been small, she recognized the attitude was clinic wide.

I am proud to work with all of you.



And may I point out that Carolyn was one of 91 students who rotated through our system last year.

At All Sites we had:


Russell Maier – Residency Program Director

28 Medical Students

7 Residents

35 Job Shadows

21 Clinical Rotations/Externships

91 total Learners : including high school and college students, and a multitude of health professionals.

Sites included: YP, SRCare, Naches, Eburg Medical, Eburg Dental, CHCW admin, and CWFM Medical, Nursing, Pharmacy, and BHC

My thanks to Verna Redbear, who coordinates all learners in our system, and to all of you for the little things you do that bring folks into a career in health care.

Russell Maier, MD

Program Director