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Northeast Oregon Area Health Education Center

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NEOAHEC Receives Grant from the Wildhorse Foundation to Start Pre-Health Society

NEOAHEC is thrilled to announce that it has been selected to receive a $10,000 grant from the Wildhorse Foundation to establish our new Pre-Health Society program.
The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) homeland is the area now known as northeastern Oregon and southwestern Washington. Each year the Wildhorse Foundation gives grants to eligible organizations in the homeland area of Morrow, Umatilla, Union, and Wallowa counties in Oregon and Benton, Columbia and Walla Walla counties in Washington, along with Native American Organization in the Pacific Northwest region. NEOAHEC is extremely grateful to have received funds from this organization.
It is well documented that students from rural and frontier communities receive less access to high-quality preparation for health professions program admission throughout both high school and college. The NEOAHEC Pre-Health Society is designed to serve community college, university, and gap year students pursuing a career in healthcare. The program will provide our rural and disadvantaged students with the resources needed to become successful applicants to competitive graduate level healthcare programs by instilling confidence, and by providing guidance and mentorship.
"Through this program we have this amazing opportunity to diversify the pool of highly qualified applicants from our region who dream of being the future of healthcare in eastern Oregon," said Hailey Hulse, program director. "This program is especially close to my heart because I have lived through the challenges of finding my pathway to becoming a future orthopedic surgeon," added Hulse. [Hailey is a current applicant to medical school]
Over the years many medical and other health professions schools have increased the number of spaces available for students from rural, frontier, and disadvantaged backgrounds. Unfortunately, despite many health professions schools aiming to identify potential candidates from rural communities as applicants, students from rural communities are not adequately prepared to be successful applicants. The NEOAHEC Pre-Health Society will challenge this gap in our region.
"Growing our own healthcare professionals is what we do, but throughout this year our team observed a breakdown in our program pathway in that we weren't providing a link between our early pathway programs and application to a professional school. We knew instantly that we needed to fix this," said Meredith Lair, executive director.
The most critical component to the NEOAHEC Pre-Health Society is mentorship, and as a result of NEOAHEC's long history, we have mentors available for our students in all phases of their career. Mentors will include students who have been admitted to health professions programs, and who participated in NEOAHEC programs in the past or are from the eastern Oregon Region.
"This program is the perfect opportunity to foster collaboration, not competition. With teamwork being the most crucial factor to providing optimal patient care, and by sharing resources we have available to those coming from similar places we are only building a stronger community of future healthcare professionals. I am so excited to continue building a network with these students intertwined " says Hailey Hulse.
There are 10 students in the inaugural cohort who are pursuing dental, medical, physician assistant and physical therapy schools.