Carthage Hospital Welcomes Rural Immersion Program Students

Local News

(August 14, 2018) CARTHAGE, NY — Carthage Area Hospital is partnering with the Northern Area Health Education Center and Wells College to bring six undergraduate medical students to the Carthage area for an immersion experience this week.

The Rural Immersion Program seeks to introduce students in health fields to rural areas of New York that face shortages of physicians and qualified health professionals. The program has a history of great success due to participation and support from local community members, hospitals, and colleges. NAHEC introduced the immersion program in New York in 2013.

“This program creates a powerful nexus of community, health care, and education, which is essential to building a health care workforce in underserved communities,” said Richard Merchant, NAHEC chief executive officer. According to published research, Merchant said, physicians frequently choose rural practice based on criteria associated with aspects of living in a rural community as opposed to the clinical challenges that surround the practice of medicine in rural communities.

Over the course of six days, students will shadow and engage with a variety of professionals at Carthage Area Hospital. Students will also experience the community in and around the Carthage area to gain an understanding of the local economy, recreational offerings, public health issues, educational resources, social influences, and many other elements that help define rural communities.

As a part of the program’s curriculum, students will participate in a community scavenger hunt, tour Fort Drum, meet with first responders from Carthage Area Rescue Squad and LifeNet of New York—AirMethods, and other activities.

Jesica L. Nichols, RN, BS, Carthage Area Hospital nursing education coordinator, is serving as hospital liaison for the students. She said members of the community should feel comfortable sharing their honest perceptions about the region’s health care.

“We hope the outcome of this survey and research will enable Carthage Area Hospital and regional health care leaders to address issues of concern to those for whom we provide care,” Nichols said.

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The Wells College team will present findings from its week-long survey during a lunch presentation on Friday, Aug. 17, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Carthage Elks Lodge, 511 Fulton St. There is no charge to attend. Community members who have questions should contact Nichols at 315-519-5579 or

About Carthage Area Hospital

Carthage Area Hospital was established as a not-for-profit rural community hospital in 1965. It operates today as a fully accredited 25-bed Critical Access Hospital, serving approximately 83,000 residents in Jefferson, northern Lewis and southern St. Lawrence counties. The hospital formed a clinical affiliation with Crouse Health, Syracuse, in 2017.

The hospital also operates a network of community-based clinics, including its Philadelphia Medical Center, Family Health Center, Pediatric Clinic and Women’s Way to Wellness and provides a range of specialty care, including general surgery, orthopedics, podiatry, urology, neurosurgical care, physical and occupational therapy and behavioral health.

About the Northern Area Health Education Center

Northern Area Health Education Center, Inc., through collaborative efforts, improves access to quality health care by making improvements in the supply, training, development and distribution of health professionals across various county areas. Its “Pipeline to
Practice” approach connects students to careers, professionals to communities, and communities to better health. As part of the larger New York State AHEC System, NAHEC is one of nine centers in New York that offers statewide capacity to address health care workforce

needs. NAHEC serves Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Franklin and Clinton counties.

About Wells College

Wells College is a nationally recognized, private liberal arts college

located in Aurora on the shores of Cayuga Lake. Founded in 1868,

Wells provides a rigorous and relationship-based academic experience

strengthened by the College’s emphasis on community, residential

atmosphere, and dedication to hands-on learning. The mission of Wells

College is to teach students to think critically, reason wisely, and act

humanely as they cultivate meaningful lives.

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