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Mentoring rural physicians

November 3, 2021  /   Press Releases  /   2-minute read

Welia Health continues its long tradition of training medical students in the practice of rural medicine

Morgan Russek, a third-year medical student from the University of Minnesota Medical School-Duluth

Welia Health welcomes Morgan Russek, a third-year medical student from the University of Minnesota Medical School-Duluth, who is taking part in the Rural Physician Associate Program (RPAP).

Prior to medical school, Russek earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology with a chemistry minor from the College of Saint Benedict and an Associate of Arts from North Hennepin Community College. Russek is particularly interested in primary care medicine and has recently published a research paper on the use of bedside ultrasound and how it might benefit rural medical practices.

Russek will be Welia Health’s 45th RPAP student since 1972. She began her rotations in mid-October with her preceptor and mentor, Dr. Katie Kroschel. Dr. Kroschel took over for long-time preceptor, Dr. Peter Donner, who stepped down in June.

Dr. Katie Kroschel, a community favorite, is passionate about lifelong learning, making her a strong fit for this mentorship role. This type of program, according to Dr. Kroschel, “allows for the best exchange of experiences between the mentor and mentee in terms of the most up-to-date treatment options.” Kroschel is also excited about fostering long-term relationships with mentees while training and recruiting the next generation of doctors who may practice in our communities.

A successful program

The RPAP Associate program has shown to make a real difference as two out of every three graduates practice in the state in which they went to school, with 40% of RPAP participants choosing rural practice.

Future physician outlook

According to the Association of American Medical College (AAMC), rural healthcare shortages exist in three out of five rural areas. To put this in perspective, rural areas are home to 20% of the population while only 11% of physicians practice there.

Welia Health’s physician staff is notably excited to build new relationships with students, hoping to attract them to the area, which would minimize the community’s population’s impact of limited healthcare availability. Rural healthcare facilities also provide a broader range of practice opportunities, allowing students to learn anything from working in an ER to delivering babies to the clinic to inpatient care.

Russek will rotate with other doctors at Welia Health until June 2022.

“A physician’s job has all the aspects of medicine I enjoy,” Russek replied when asked why she wanted to become a physician. “There is communication and problem solving with an overarching understanding of the science of the human body.”

In her spare time, Russek enjoys hiking, kayaking, backpacking, running, cooking, dancing, and practicing yoga.

Welcome, Morgan. We are pleased to have you living and working in our communities.

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