Since June, Katherine Badger and Meg Kruithoff from the Tufts University School of Medicine have been immersed in the delivery of healthcare at LincolnHealth. They are students in the Maine Track Program, a partnership between Tufts University School of Medicine and Maine Medical Center. This partnership was formed with three primary goals in mind: to address the shortage of doctors, especially in rural areas; to offer Maine’s brightest students the financial means to pursue a career in medicine; and to develop an innovative curriculum focused on community-based education.
LincolnHealth has been an educational partner for eight years in the Longitudinal Integrated Curriculum (LIC), a learning model which focuses on the needs of rural Maine by giving students firsthand experience providing care in local communities.
“The relationships that the students build with providers allow their skills to grow and encourage experiences that showcase the diversity that exists in rural health,’’ said Heather Wolfe, MD, LincolnHealth site director of the program.
Students in the Maine Track LIC program work closely with LincolnHealth providers and receive training in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Surgery, Family Medicine, Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Internal Medicine. When time permits, the students can pursue self-directed learning and explore other types of care offered at LincolnHealth like emergency medicine, orthopedics and ophthalmology.
“The doctors and midwives who are teaching us are amazing,’’ said Badger, who grew up in Jackson, N.H. “I feel like I have a lot of ownership in this program. We are known here, and it feels like home.
“I am really impressed with the level of care here. It’s a great community hospital. It has been an educationally rewarding experience to work with providers and staff at LincolnHealth. We feel like part of the team,” said Kruithoff.
Badger and Kruithoff will be at LincolnHealth through February and will spend their fourth year of medical school at Maine Medical Center. Upon completion of medical school, the students will choose a specialty and join a residency program that typically lasts between three and five years.
“Being immersed at LincolnHealth for nine months is not only an incredible way to learn medicine from preventative care, to care of acute and chronic illness; but also a chance to get to know this wonderful, tight knit community,” said Kruithoff.