Understanding the daily life of patients and the community is key to providing compassionate and effective health care, according to Tufts University School of Medicine Maine Track students Sydney Ford and Micah Ludwig. Ford, originally from Brunswick, and Ludwig, of Waldoboro, are spending nine months of their third year of medical school at LincolnHealth, from June 2018 to March 2019.
“Having the awareness of socioeconomic and population health issues that your community deals with is very important,” commented Ford. “Rural areas have unique challenges. You have to think about employment, housing, social services, and understand the context that your patient lives in.”
Originally from Midcoast Maine, Ford and Ludwig are happy to spend time at a small, rural hospital where they can get to know both the patients and the physicians.
“One of the great aspects of the Maine Track’s innovative longitudinal curriculum is that we work directly with multiple physicians in different specialties,” explained Ludwig. “In many other programs, you may be one of several medical students and residents working with the same physician.”
Over the course of the nine months, Ford and Ludwig will assist in the care of patients alongside supervising mentor physicians and midwives in internal medicine, family medicine, surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics, and gynecology. They will also spend time with LincolnHealth emergency physicians, hospitalists, orthopedic surgeons, and an ophthalmologist as well as psychiatrists in Brunswick.
The Tufts University School of Medicine - Maine Medical Center (TUSM-MMC) Maine Track Program aims to address the shortage of physicians in Maine, especially in rural communities. The program places students with an interest in rural medicine in communities where they can develop the relationships that will encourage them to return after they complete their training.
This is the seventh year of LincolnHealth's participation in the TUSM-MMC Maine Track Program.
“We are delighted to have two medical students who grew up in this area working side by side with our team of providers,” commented Heather Wolfe, MD, LincolnHealth’s Site Director for the program. “The close relationships they are building with the providers and patients will lay a foundation for continued excellent patient-centered care.”
Ludwig and Ford will spend their fourth year of medical school at Maine Medical Center. Upon completing medical school, they will complete a 3-5 year residency in the specialty of their choice.
"Maine is my home,” Ludwig commented. “In the future I don't just want to be a physician working in an underserved area, I want to be someone who is an active member of that community. By receiving my medical education through the Maine Track program I will be uniquely prepared to begin this endeavor."
For more information about LincolnHealth, please visit www.lincolnhealthme.org. For more information about how you can support the Tufts program at LincolnHealth, please call the LincolnHealth Development Office at 207-563-4570.