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Partners in care

Samaritan and Oregon State athletic training program collaborate to educate health care leaders of tomorrow

Once a term, students pursuing a master’s degree in athletic training participate in a hands-on seminar led by Samaritan Health Services orthopaedic surgeons. The topic rotates, but the value stays the same.

The seminar starts with a lecture by a third-year orthopaedics surgery resident on a topic that corresponds with current coursework. Then, the residents and an attending physician, complete a full orthopaedic evaluation with opportunities for the athletic training students to practice under supervision on the physicians.

“Our students hear an orthopaedic surgeon’s perspective during the lecture, which supplements what they are learning in class,” says Sam Johnson, College of Public Health and Human Sciences clinical associate professor. “During the hands-on portion, they have the chance to work in small groups – sometimes one physician to two students – to practice their skills. The residents, who are finishing their orthopaedic surgery training, also have the opportunity to present to an audience they may not typically present to.”

The idea for the seminars bloomed out of conversations between the athletic training faculty and Luis Vela, D.O., orthopaedic surgeon at Samaritan Health Services and an Oregon State Athletics team physician. “Samaritan was starting a residency orthopaedic surgeon program,” Sam says. “We discussed ways our programs could collaborate and the seminars seemed like a natural partnership since both of our programs are training future health care professionals.” Eight years later, the seminars are going strong.

“It’s helpful to learn the clinical perspective,” says Rhiannon Geving, a first-year masters in athletic training student. “Knowing the surgical process will help me tackle the rehabilitation side of the equation.”

Holistic approach to athletic training

The seminars are just one example of how Samaritan Health Services and the Oregon State master’s in athletic training program collaborate to benefit students, athletes and the Corvallis community. This partnership goes back almost 20 years.

CPHHS Associate Professor Mark Hoffman invited Craig Graham, M.D., a sports medicine physician at Samaritan and OSU team physician, to present guest lectures to athletic training students in 2000. Over the years, this evolved into Mark and Dr. Graham co-teaching KIN 566: General Medical Assessment.

“I feel strongly that it is important for athletic trainers to have close connections with physicians, and this is the ideal situation for our students,” Mark says.

The primary goal of KIN 566 is to educate athletic training students in general medical assessment, such as illnesses, mood disorders, asthma and other chronic conditions, to complement the education they receive regarding musculoskeletal and orthopaedic issues.

“This training helps prepare them for the various problems they are confronted with by athletes and patients,” Dr. Graham says. “Student athletes, generally speaking, present their athletic trainer with almost any issue or problem you can imagine, from injury and illness to headache and depression.”

During their second year in the program, students spend a week with Dr. Graham at Samaritan Athletic Medicine Center to gain experience working with community patients, versus the student athletes they regularly work with in the athletic training room.

“These experiences are valuable in illustrating the unique manners in which various sick or injured community members come to their health care provider,” Dr. Graham says. “An 80-year-old with shoulder pain can be a bit different than an 18-year-old with shoulder pain. This better prepares them for working outside of an athletic training room or sports team setting.”

“In order to provide quality care to a patient, health care professionals need to work together,” Sam says. “As educators of these future professionals, we have to facilitate these interactions during their training. The collaboration between Samaritan and the athletic training program shows a dedication to this idea.”