Program focuses on rural health care
Not many medical school residents have the opportunity to work with patients and doctors in a rural setting, but a pilot program in Waupaca is looking to change that.
ThedaCare Physicians-Waupaca teamed up with the Fox Valley Family Medicine Residency program to offer a third-year resident to care for patients and work with other physicians in a smaller community.
As part of the Rural Continuity Practice Opportunities program, Dr. Rawinder Parmar goes to Waupaca weekly to meet with patients.
Based at Mosaic Health in Appleton, she sees patients at the clinic, in addition to working a variety of shifts in Fox Cities hospitals.
Parmar applied for the program since she would like to work in a full-scope family medicine practice in a rural or underserved setting once she completes her residency program next spring.
“I felt this exposure (in Waupaca) would be great preparation” for my career, she said. “I love the local patient population that I have had the opportunity to work with. My days vary anywhere from well-child visits and skin procedures to OB milestone visits and end-of-life discussions.”
The Rural Continuity Practice Opportunities program was created by the Medical College of Wisconsin to provide residents with the chance to work with family physicians, surgeons, gynecologists and emergency medicine physicians in smaller communities within 60 miles of the primary residency site.
Dr. Zachary Baeseman, of ThedaCare Physicians-Waupaca, spearheaded the effort to bring a resident to the community.
“This is a way we can expose more residents to what it is like to work in a rural setting,” he said. “We can provide a rich environment for them where they can practice in both a clinical and hospital setting.”
Baeseman, along with fellow Waupaca family medicine physicians James Spencer and Michael Bauer, oversee Parmar and provide feedback on the care she delivers to patients.
“So far, things are going very well and we have received a lot of positive feedback,” Baeseman said.
Parmar appreciates the support she has received from the ThedaCare Physicians-Waupaca staff.
“I have really enjoyed with the attending physicians. They have great passion for teaching which makes the experience all the better,” she said.
In Waupaca, Parmar has more opportunities, including obstetrics, than a resident in a larger hospital, Baeseman said.
“There is an OB patient she is following and hopefully, Dr. Parmar will be here when she gives birth,” he said. “The goal is that doctors see how awesome it is to be in a place where the clinic and hospital are together and decide to seek a position in that environment.”
If the program goes well, Baeseman said ThedaCare Physicians-Waupaca might have the opportunity to host a resident physician for his or her second and third years of training.
“It is a continuality program where the resident really gets to know the facility and patients,” he said.
Baeseman said the program builds the family doctors of the future.
“When you look at family doctors, they are getting older and we do not have enough of them,” he said. “A program like this shows residents the opportunities available to family medicine physicians, especially those who choose to work in a rural area where the need is greatest.”