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Canton-Potsdam Hospital is partnering with the Northern Area Health Education Center (NAHEC) and SUNY Upstate Medical University College of Medicine Department of Family Medicine to bring six medical students to the Potsdam area for an immersion experience from June 6 through June 11.

The Rural Immersion program seeks to introduce medical students to rural areas of New York experiencing  physician  shortages. The program has a history of great success due to the participation and support of local community members, hospitals, and colleges.

The immersion program was introduced in New York by NAHEC in 2013. “What is so great about this program is that it creates a powerful nexus of community, healthcare, and education, which is essential to building the healthcare workforce in our underserved communities,” stated Richard Merchant, NAHEC CEO. Based on available research, Merchant says, physicians frequently choose rural practice based on criteria associated with aspects of living in a rural community as opposed to the clinical issues surrounding the practice of medicine in a rural community.

Over the course of six days, the students will shadow and engage with a variety of professionals at Canton-Potsdam Hospital. Importantly, the students will also experience the local community in and around the Canton-Potsdam 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, the students will be taking part in a community scavenger hunt, EMS ride-alongs, hiking to Lampson Falls, and a farm tour.

On Friday, June 10th, the students will participate in a community presentation that will detail their immersion week experiences, and reflect back to the community audience essential information about their findings of the region. The public is invited to join the students at the Cheel Commons Room at Clarkson University from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. New York Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell is scheduled to attend.

For more information, please contact Tammy Hill at 315-379-7701 or thill@nahecnet.org.