Updated December 2014
- Thomas County is served by KU Medical Center's Area Health Education Center (AHEC), which serves the state through student education initiatives, professional education for health care providers, health screenings, clinics and public presentations on health topics.
Enhancing Student Education
- 4 students from Thomas County are currently studying at KU Medical Center.
- 4 Thomas County physicians serve as volunteer KU Medical Center faculty, providing medical students with hands-on training in rural and underserved communities as part of the Rural Preceptorship Program.
- 10 high school students in Thomas County participated in activities during Fiscal Year 2014 that encouraged them to consider careers in health care, math and science. These events were hosted by the KU Area Health Education Center.
- Nurses across Kansas can now advance their careers from home, thanks to an innovative agreement between the KU School of Nursing and 18 regional community colleges, including Colby Community College. The agreement provides nurses who have an associate's degree in nursing from a participating college an easier transition to earning their bachelor of science in nursing through KU's online RN-to-BSN program.
- Thomas County is part of the Northwest Medical Education Network with Michael Machen, MD, a resident of Quinter, serving as the Medical Education Director. The medical education director helps coordinate the School of Medicine's efforts to mentor, train and place physicians throughout Kansas.
Strengthening the Health Care Workforce
- 14 KU Medical Center graduates live and/or practice in Thomas County.
- 4 health care providers have been placed in Thomas County since 2004 through the Kansas Recruitment and Retention Center, which provides placement assistance to rural health organizations and seeks to enhance the quality and quantity of health care professionals in rural Kansas.
- 1 Thomas County physician received funding through the Kansas Bridging Plan, a loan-forgiveness program offered since 1991 to primary care medical residents who agree to practice in rural Kansas.
- 1 Thomas County health care employer exhibited with 2014 Kansas Career Opportunities, which is designed to introduce medical students, residents and other health care professionals to rural communities looking to hire.
- 2 enrollments in KU Medical Center continuing education courses and conferences by Thomas County health care professionals in Fiscal Year 2014.
Researching to Improve Health
- Hospitalization has been identified as a teachable moment in which patients may be more likely to quit smoking. Citizens Medical Center in Colby is one 35 Kansas hospitals participating in Kan Quit II, a study that provides smoking cessation counseling, treatment and case management services to inpatients. The study then evaluates the effectiveness of the smoking cessation services. The project is led by Edward Ellerbeck, MD, MPH, and is sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health.
Obesity is a risk factor for breast cancer recurrence, and rural women are considered to be at a higher risk for obesity and to have less access to health care. Female patients from 60 counties, including Thomas County, are taking part in a weight-loss maintenance intervention program for breast cancer survivors in rural Kansas. The program connects survivors for long-term weight management using phone-based peer group support. The study then evaluates the effectiveness of the program over time. This research is led by Christie Befort, PhD, and is sponsored by the National Cancer Institute.
Advancing Health Care Access
- Thomas County residents saw KU Medical Center health care providers 88 times via telemedicine in FY14. An interactive video technology that connects providers and patients when distance separates the two, telemedicine services are provided through the University of Kansas Center for Telemedicine and Telehealth.
- Thomas County residents made 6 visits to KU Medical Center health care providers in outreach clinics held outside of Kansas City in FY14.
- Citizens Medical Center is one of 13 partners in The University of Kansas Hospital's Kansas Heart and Stroke Collaborative, a $12.5 million federally-funded initiative awarded in 2014 that seeks to reduce heart disease and stroke deaths in western Kansas by 20 percent. Led by Executive Director Robert Moser, MD, the Collaborative will bring systematic change to treatment for heart disease and stroke in the region to help patients get the care they need closer to home as well as reduce health care costs. The grant also provides funding for health education campaigns aimed at prevention and rehabilitation.
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Jan 02, 2015