- Chelsea Prollamante
Name: Chelsea Prollamante
Undergraduate Major: Biology
College/University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Graduate/Professional Area of Study (if applicable): Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
College/University: Touro University Nevada
What drew you to a career in health care? My parents are a major influence in why I grew an interest in healthcare. They are both nurses and exemplify the values I saw many healthcare professionals to encompass. At a young age, I saw how they found reward and happiness in helping turn around a patient’s life even if it meant spending countless hours in the hospital. It was through their guidance and sacrifice that I understood the value of hard work and the reward that comes from working in the healthcare field. I also wanted to make an impact in other people’s lives by being a life-long learner, teacher and companion – roles continuously expressed in health care professionals.
What interested you in applying to the AHEC Scholars Program? I joined a summer mentorship program though the Clark County Medical Society in hopes of finding a physician mentor to guide me as I continue to learn about medicine. I saw many benefits in having a mentor and luckily, through Dr. Jerry Reeves, I learned about Comagine Health and was able to sit in one of the discussions with other AHEC scholars. I found the opportunity to form good interprofessional relationships and become an active member in the community. I was afraid that once I got into residency, I would be in the middle of facing many problems I wouldn’t know how to handle. I wanted to prepare myself now, through education and experience, with tools I can use to help become a better physician and help make a change in our health care system. I decided to join the AHEC Scholars Program because through this program, I can learn about the issues with health care (especially in Nevada) and discuss ways that we, as a community, can solve these problems.
How has the AHEC Scholars Program impacted you personally, and in your educational and career pursuits? The AHEC Scholars Program has helped me realize that being a good physician means not only having the knowledge to treat patients, but also having the many other qualities that can be taught through experience. Through this program, I am able to engage in discussion with people from many different backgrounds and career paths to learn about many topics that aren’t explicitly taught in medical school.
So far, what has been your most memorable experience as part of the AHEC Scholars program? Why? My most memorable experience so far was attending the Southern Nevada Opioid Advisory Council meeting run by the Southern Nevada Health District. I actually had no expectations for what the meeting would entail but then I found myself sitting in a room full of people ranging from police officers, nursing students, lawyers and even a senator. They all had the same goal of tackling the opioid crisis we face here in Southern Nevada. People from various groups and organizations presented their plans of action and I was amazed in what was being done around the community to reduce crime and drug abuse while helping increase good, positive health. I enjoyed seeing how other professionals in different career fields could input their skills and work together to solve a common problem in Southern Nevada.
Have you been surprised by anything you have learned since becoming an AHEC Scholar? If so, what? In one of my first meetings as an AHEC scholar, I learned about the cost of healthcare and details on some reasons why healthcare needs to be changed. I was very surprised that the regulations that you would think would be beneficial, can actually be somewhat detrimental. For example, it seemed counterintuitive that the electronic health records’ lack of interoperability prevented providers and patients from accessing important information easily. Instead, physicians may experience burnout from all the paperwork needed to shuffle through different charts from different places. After discussing this with the other AHEC scholars, I found that there is a working plan for a solution for the state called HealtHIE Nevada. It’s inspiring to see how the problems we face, which may initially seem daunting to tackle, can be managed and actually discussed to form solutions.
What are your plans following completion of the AHEC Scholars Program? After completing the AHEC Scholars Program I hope to graduate medical school and hopefully stay in Southern Nevada to start my residency and continue to get involved with the community by volunteering. I plan to take what I have learned through the AHEC Scholars Program and make a positive impact on my future patients and colleagues.
What would you say to students who are interested in being part of the AHEC Scholars Program? What advice would you give? The AHEC Scholar Program can provide opportunities that you may not find in school or in the workplace. There are different topics you can learn about and discuss that will help you become a better professional in the health care field. I think the best thing we can do before and even while working in this field is to give back to the community and joining the AHEC Scholars Program can help you do just that. You can also work around your schedule with the online learning portal and learn on topics you find interesting. I would recommend joining the AHEC Scholar Program also if you are in need of a mentor or would like to network in the healthcare field but don’t know where to start.
- Taylor Rappenecker
Name: Taylor Rappenecker
Undergraduate Major: Biology
College/University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
What drew you to a career in health care? I became interested in health care while I was in high school. My mom started attending nursing school, and I found the material she was studying very interesting. I later took anatomy and biology courses and I really loved the material. I loved how medicine involved not only science but the ability to directly touch peoples' lives.
What interested you in applying to the AHEC Scholars Program? Dr. Jerry Reeves told me about the program, and it interested me because it sounded like a good way to gain valuable medical-related experiences as well as professional development skills.
How has the AHEC Scholars Program impacted you personally, and in your educational and career pursuits? It has helped me gain a broader understanding of health care and it has made me very interested in pursuing public health in my career as a physician.
So far, what has been your most memorable experience as part of the AHEC Scholars program? Why? One of my most memorable experiences was when I got to speak with the creators of the MyShapers program and the FAST program. This was memorable for me because I have a strong desire to work with kids in my career, and I enjoyed learning about how these programs are designed to help children become healthier. I also enjoyed these presentations because I was able to see how research in public health has the power to improve thousands of lives; this made me interested in pursuing this as part of my career.
Have you been surprised by anything you have learned since becoming an AHEC Scholar? If so, what? I was surprised by all the connectedness in health care. I found it fascinating to learn how many parties are involved in creating and implementing changes in the health care system, like policymakers for example.
What are your plans following completion of the AHEC Scholars Program? Attending medical school.
What would you say to students who are interested in being part of the AHEC Scholars Program? What advice would you give? I would say to try to get involved as much as you can; I think the meaning of the available material is greater the more you know. After watching more of the online videos, I was able to see more connections and really appreciate what I was learning.