Updated December 2015
- Thomas County is served by KU Medical Center's Area Health Education Centers (AHECs), which serve 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.
- 6 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.
- Medical students spent six weeks working with primary care physicians and conducting a community-based research project in 27 counties, including Thomas County, as part of KU Medical Center's summer 2015 Rural Primary Care Practice and Research Program, one of several programs designed to encourage students to consider practicing medicine in a rural Kansas community.
- 29 high school students in Thomas County participated in activities during Fiscal Year 2015 that encouraged them to consider careers in health care, math and science. These events were hosted by the KU AHECs.
- 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, M.D., 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
- 18 KU Medical Center alumni 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.
- 3 Thomas County physicians 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 2015 Kansas Career Opportunities, which is designed to introduce medical students, residents and other health care professionals to rural communities looking to hire.
- 3 enrollments in KU Medical Center continuing education/professional development courses and conferences by Thomas County health care professionals in Fiscal Year 2015. Continuing education programming is offered by KU Medical Center's Continuing Education and Professional Development and KU AHECs.
- 58 professional education and administrative visits in Thomas County occurred in FY15 via telemedicine, an interactive video technology that eliminates distance as a barrier to health care, continuing education and interprofessional collaboration. The technology is operated by the University of Kansas Center for Telemedicine and Telehealth.
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, Ph.D., and is sponsored by the National Cancer Institute.
Advancing Health Care Access
- Thomas County residents saw KU Medical Center health care providers 38 times via telemedicine in FY15. An interactive video technology that connects providers and patients when distance separates the two, telemedicine services are provided through the KU Center for Telemedicine and Telehealth.
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Jan 29, 2016