Spreading the Benefits
The Nebraska Medical Center is committed to enhancing the quality of life for our patients and the community at large. In 2010, The Nebraska Medical Center invested $85,705,868 in the community through a variety of community benefit programs that range from providing care to the uninsured and underinsured to providing health screenings and health fairs, funding for research as well as funding and training for health professions education.
The following provides a spotlight on the many lives The Nebraska Medical Center touches through our commitment to our future health-care professionals.
Each year, the Nebraska Medical Center, with its teaching partner, the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), educates and trains many of the health-care professionals in the state. After their training, many will stay in Omaha, some will choose to work with the underserved in the community and a large number will set up practice in communities throughout rural Nebraska.
“Nearly 60 percent of health-care providers practicing in the state have received some form of clinical training at The Nebraska Medical Center,” says Stephen B. Smith, MD, chief medical officer at The Nebraska Medical Center. “In this state, people look to The Nebraska Medical Center as the leader. Our support and commitment to the education of health-care professionals and scientists in our state contributes not only to the state’s economic development but also positions us as a vital force in shaping and helping meet the health-care needs in Omaha and greater Nebraska.
“It’s a responsibility The Nebraska Medical Center takes very seriously and one that is staunchly supported by our community benefits program,” says Dr. Smith. In 2010, The Nebraska Medical Center contributed $1,384,807 to support health professions education by providing quality hands-on training and education to those pursuing health professional careers in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry and allied health. The medical center offers more than 40 medical residency and fellowship programs, many of which are not available at other medical programs in the state.
The Nebraska Medical Center prepares students to practice in many settings and socioeconomic climates by offering clinical rotations in both urban and rural areas of Nebraska.
Francisco Machuca, MD, a recent graduate of the Family Medicine Residency program at UNMC, is now fulfilling his childhood promise of serving the Latino population. He works as a family practitioner at the OneWorld Community Health Center in south Omaha.
This clinic provides quality healthcare with special attention to the underserved, many of whom come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds.
Dr. Machuca’s first memories of family medicine were formed as a young child. He would accompany his Mexican-born father to his doctors’ appointments and serve as his translator. Watching and experiencing first-hand the struggles of the Latino community, many of whom spoke no English, left an indelible mark in his memory. It also left a personal promise to someday become a champion for his own people.
“The program has given me the opportunity to really immerse myself into the Latino community,” says Dr. Machuca. “Communication has always been a barrier for them.
Many of them have been struggling with health issues for many years but no one has ever been able to explain their problems in terms they can understand. They are so appreciative of the care I provide them and that is very satisfying.”
Dr. Machuca was first introduced to OneWorld Community Health Center while completing his training with the UNMC Family Medicine Residency program. It is one of two family residency programs supported by The Nebraska Medical Center; the other is Clarkson Family Medicine. The goal of the program is to train physicians to meet the needs of all Nebraska communities, particularly those in rural and urban, underserved areas. The program has developed a number of innovative tracks to meet those needs, including the Urban Underserved Track and the Advanced Rural Training Program. Residents are required to complete clinic time with these two programs to help provide them with the skills needed to be successful physicians in diverse clinical settings.
“We try to expose our students to a variety of environments,” says Dr. Smith. “And because we’re an academic center, we are able to offer a rich array of training programs in almost every specialty. This, combined with the fact that we see a large number of patients with a wide variety of illnesses and degrees of complexity, allows us to better prepare our trainees with a solid foundation to practice quality medicine anywhere in the state or elsewhere.”
Practicing in a rural setting is what attracted Anthony Cook, MD, to the Clarkson Family Medicine residency program. It focuses on providing residents with a broad-based training experience that will prepare them for the rural setting. Dr. Cook’s first impressions of what a family doctor should be were shaped during his childhood days growing up in the small town of Pierce, Neb. His family practitioner, who took care of all of his family’s health-care needs from delivering babies to providing end-of-life care, became an unforgettable role model whom he has aspired to emulate in his own practice.
To prepare for rural practice, Dr. Cook participated in a month-long rotation in West Point, Neb., which he says was invaluable to his training. He also completed another month of rural training with a family practice group in Estherville, Iowa, where he now practices. “When you practice at one of these rural clinics, you cover all aspects of care and you leave feeling much more confident about your skills,” he says. “It’s as close to the real world that you are going to get.”
“The health-care training programs we provide are critical for rural and regional hospitals,” says Dr. Smith. “These hospitals could not provide the kind of services they do if it weren’t for the training we provide and the number of graduates from these programs who choose to practice in rural Nebraska. It’s much easier to keep your graduates here once they train here rather than try to attract others from another state.”
“In the end, the patient is the one who wins because patients in communities throughout the state have access to quality healthcare that they might not otherwise have,” he adds.
“If we can provide our students and residents with the best possible education and training so that they are armed with the tools they need to provide patients with the most advanced patient care and outcomes, then we have provided a very valuable benefit to our community,” says Glenn Fosdick, president and CEO at The Nebraska Medical Center. “We take this responsibility very seriously and are proud to play a critical role in shaping how healthcare is practiced in our community.”