Volume 010 | April-June 2022
Omaha AHEC
In This Issue
  • In the Spotlight: UHOP Scholar Uyen Tran
  • Statewide AHEC Workshop
  • National AHEC Week
UHOP Spotlight: Uyen Tran
The Urban Health Opportunities Program (UHOP) is a UNO-UNMC pipeline program. Its purpose is to diversify the urban Nebraska healthcare workforce by identifying and preparing qualified students from underrepresented groups to enter and succeed in health professions training. The Omaha AHEC is a proud partner of the UHOP Program and works one-on-one with UHOP Scholars, such as Uyen Tran, who we've featured in this newsletter.
University of Nebraska at Omaha



Where does your interest in the medical field stem from?
The medical field has fascinated me since I was a child. My first memory is of me as a 6-year-old holding my mom’s hand walking out of my pediatrician’s office and telling her I wanted to be a doctor when I grew up. Throughout the years, science and how the body worked were my favorite things to learn about in school. Additionally, something my parents instilled in me as a young child was the importance of earning an honest living and giving back to your community. As the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants, I know that I have been blessed with countless opportunities in my life that not all children of immigrants in America get to come by.

What do you like about UHOP?
I like the academic and personal support I’ve received from the UHOP administration throughout my time in undergrad. Dr. Davis, our program director, and my UHOP advisors Clare Maakestad and Nadira Ford-Robbins have been constant mentors to me and have all played roles in my character development and how I came to be the student and person I am today. Because of them, I have never been led astray and have made all the right decisions regarding my future occupation as a physician that has put me into the most optimal position to succeed.
How has UHOP helped you prepare for your journey as a medical student at UNMC?
UHOP has helped me prepare for my journey as a medical student at UNMC from the day I set foot on UNO’s campus as a freshman. The program [has given] me all the resources to ensure that success was not only just in reach, but a guarantee. I received guidance on which classes to take every semester, a four-year academic plan, tutoring on an as-needed basis, tips on healthy study habits, access to medical profession education seminars, collaboration opportunities with other successful students, and regular check-in meetings with my advisors to keep me on track. All in all, I received the best treatment a UNO student can get to successfully achieve their academic and professional goals.

What excites you most about the future?
I am most excited about graduating college [May 2022] and becoming a medical student at UNMC. I feel like that moment will actually mark the beginning of my journey to becoming a physician. I am excited about the vast amount of knowledge that is awaiting me in medical school and beyond, the colleagues I will meet and work with along the way, and the future patients I will have the honor to treat. I hope to practice pediatric neurology or pediatric neurosurgery in an urban area in the future. 
Statewide Workshop
The Nebraska AHEC Program held its Year Two Scholars Statewide Workshop on Saturday, February 26th. The workshop consisted of all five Nebraska AHEC centers: Northern Nebraska, Southeast Nebraska, Omaha Area, Nebraska Panhandle, and Central Nebraska. This workshop focused on workforce initiatives and the importance of health care within rural communities.

The keynote speaker Kim Kwapnioski discussed how working in rural communities provides a unique environment for healthcare professionals in providing quality care in remote areas. She also discussed the roles that AHEC Scholars play and the importance of those roles. Kim asked our scholars how they define the term "rural" to help highlight the importance of why quality healthcare is so important in rural communities. You can see how our scholars' definitions below.

The workshop also featured three past AHEC Scholars, who recently graduated and are now employed in a healthcare setting. They offered their advice and experience when it came to applying for jobs and how AHEC can help support applicants during this process. For example, our past scholars recommended applying to jobs early and being open to working in rural communities. Additionally, a HR Director from a Federally Qualified Health Center discussed important interview strategies, such as highlighting your passions.
How our AHEC Scholars defined the term "rural":

Small town, isolation, remote, uncrowded, low population, Midwest, community, tradition, home-town, family, close-knit, farming, corn, countryside, country, underserved, limited access, secluded, remote, everybody knows everybody, peaceful, conservative
Workshop Reviews from our Scholars
"A wealth of knowledge I would not have experienced without AHEC. They just don't teach you those things in didactics. Forever grateful for my time with AHEC.”
“I thought this was a very helpful workshop, and I will likely rewatch the workshop as graduation approaches towards the end of the year.”
“I am motivated to work in a rural area and seek a welcoming community. Giving back to rural communities is where I see myself if 5-10 years.”
“I felt like I got a lot of good tips on how to transition from being a student to a new healthcare professional and when to start my job search!”
National AHEC Week

The National AHEC Organization (NAO) has designated the week of March 28th -April 1, 2022 as the National AHEC Week.
AHECs are "committed to expanding of the health care workforce, while maximizing diversity and facilitating distribution, especially in rural and underserved communities. AHECS offer creative, hands-on and innovative health career curriculums for pre-college level students." (Source: National AHEC Organization)

NAO Week is a great way for AHEC to meet with legislators and to ensure they know the value and importance of what AHEC centers across the country do. According to Kristina Fjeld-Sparks, Director of the New Hampshire AHEC NAO and Public Police Committee Co-Chair, "fostering relationships and educating members of Congress (and their staffs) on the amazing work of the AHECs across the country is an important component of our AHEC work. Members of Congress want to hear from their constituents, the people they represent in Congress."

We encourage you to reach out to your legislators to share how AHEC has been important in your health careers journey!
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