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Another Successful MedQuest Camp

The NEOAHEC MedQuest Health Career Exploration camp continued to look a little different than it has in the past. For the second year, this year’s MedQuest Health Career Exploration Camp continued on a virtual platform in order to provide students a way to connect with others who have similar interests in healthcare. Not only was NEOAHEC able to connect students with other high schoolers throughout the state who are interested in healthcare, but we were able to bring in current OHSU Nursing and Medical Students from similar backgrounds to share their stories with campers.
One future physician that students really connected with was Elias Wisdom, a native of La Grande. He is one of seven students who has been accepted into OHSU’s Physician scientist program. He will start his eight to ten year journey through the MD/PhD curriculum at OHSU this fall. Students were amazed with how humble, kind, and willing Eli was to share his path through his journey. Students saw hope for their futures knowing that someone from a rural setting can achieve big things too!
“Growing up in eastern Oregon, my fellow community members instilled within me strong values of service, compassion, humility, and hard work. These, and the bonds I formed with teammates, teachers, coaches, and coworkers, inspired me to pursue a career that would allow me to positively impact human health and expand knowledge. I was honored to have the opportunity to speak with MedQuest students and share what I have learned in pursuing this career path, and hopefully, to help fill a small part of the void that exists in exposure to biomedical careers in rural settings. Accessible healthcare is a vital component to a thriving rural community, and it brought me immense joy to see and hear the inspiration coming from the bright and eager students who will lead the future of rural medicine.” said Eli Wisdom, a soon to be first year MD/PhD student at OHSU.
The camp schedule included glimpses inside medical facilities from Grants Pass all the way to Enterprise, Oregon. Facilities that were featured allowed access to an orthopedic surgery, tours of rural, frontier, and tribal health clinics, emergency medicine, instruction on how to use a stethoscope, how to take blood pressure, a discussion about vaccines, a tour of the OHSU Tram, and interviews with OHSU medical and nursing students.
This year with the help of our sponsors, NEOAHEC was able to provide each student with a kit of diagnostic tools and supplies of their very own to learn with during camp.
"I loved how everyone had their own different stories and paths! I also loved that you guys explained the schooling, and the getting in part of medical school because I didn't really know a lot. Thank you for really encouraging us to continue exploring the medical field because anyone can do it!" added a camper.
MedQuest is a special experience for students, and offering it virtually has given more students the opportunity to participate! The NEOAHEC team looks forward to offering the camp in-person next year, but the team also looks forward to expanding partnerships to provide components of camp virtually to become more inclusive, providing the MedQuest pathway experience to as many as possible.
"The confidence that I saw students gain throughout the week of camp was priceless. It was important to me to make sure that I interviewed professional students who came from backgrounds similar to the students attending camp. Representation can be such a powerful tool to increase confidence throughout these competitive and challenging paths." added Hailey Hulse, MedQuest Camp Director.
Of the 58 students who participated in MedQuest this year, the camp had representation from the following Oregon towns: Albany, Ashland, Baker, Canby, Cornelius, Cove, Elgin, Forest Grove, Grants Pass, Happy Valley, Heppner, Hermiston, Hillsboro, Hood River, Island City, Joseph, Klamath Falls, La Grande, Long Creek, Medford, Mosier, North Bend, Pendleton, Portland, Riddle, Roseburg, Seaside, Summerville, Talent, Tigard, Union, Wood Village, Woodburn. Students from rural, frontier, urban and tribal communities attended the camp.
"My favorite content was hearing from future/current medical students who came from a rural area. To my knowledge there is no one from Jewell who has become a physician so in a way I thought maybe my dreams were unattainable. MedQuest proved to me that there was hope for students like me." added a student from Jewell High School.
We look forward to a hybrid model for camp next year, hopefully including an in person and virtual option for students. Our Camp Coordinators and Mentors were excited to share their thoughts about this years camp to make each year better and different.
Hear from the Staff of MedQuest

This year's MedQuest made me realize how much an impact and influence NEOAHEC has on students. The amount of time and effort that was put into MedQuest 2021 is outstanding and very well thought out. There was so much involvement from every single person which showed how important this camp was to them. Hearing all the wonderful reflections from campers on how much they learned and thankful they were was really eye-opening to me. MedQuest helped me realize who I wanted to be in the medical field and there are still so many other students out there who are still trying to figure that out. I want to be able to reach out to as many students as possible and help them figure out that feature." said former camper and first year OHSU nursing student, Yessenia Garcia-Sanchez.

"MedQuest was a great learning experience not only for the campers, but for me as well. Being my first time as a Camp Mentor, it was wonderful being able to be a resource for the campers by answering any questions or guide them to someone who could. I shared my story in hopes of inspiring people. MedQuest was truly an amazing experience and hope to be apart of it in the future." said Aldo Rivas, first year OHSU nursing student.
"I am so happy I was able to participate in MedQuest this year. Not only did I enjoy editing and making the videos for camp, but I also had a great time interacting with the students and guests. I think this year is the most participation we’ve had from students while running the camp virtually and it really made a big difference with how well the students paid attention and the effort they put into asking insightful questions. The campers this year were awesome and I truly feel that we were able to make a positive impact on their future towards a career in rural healthcare. This camp is absolutely necessary when it comes to exposure to rural health care and I can only see this camp growing in size as the years go on." said Easton Bents, Camp Coordinator.