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NMJC Hosts UNM Students

NMJC Hosts UNM Students photo
(L to R) David Madrano, Jim Crumbacher, Renee Honeyfield, Nathaniel Wiest, Dr. Brian Sloan

7/24/2008 3:25:21 p.m. - Hobbs, NM. With some help from New Mexico Junior College, several University of New Mexico students are participating in two programs held each summer by UNM. The university's Bachelor of Arts and Doctor of Medicine program and the Practical Immersion Experience program give students the opportunity to see how healthcare practices operate around the state. The purpose of the BA/MD program is to boost the number of physicians in New Mexico. So seeing one of these students on the campus of NMJC may be seeing a future New Mexico doctor.

David Medrano, Renee Honeyfield, Nathaniel Wiest and Jim Crumbacher are all in the university's Bachelor of Arts and Doctor of Medicine program that started in 2006. JB Henderson is a second-year medical student involved in the Practical Immersion Experience. All five students are staying on the NMJC campus for four weeks while they work with or shadow area doctors.
his is the first year for the BA/MD students to travel to a healthcare office outside of Albuquerque. Different groups from the program are sent to hospitals and clinics around the state. The four students in the group staying at NMJC each shadow a Hobbs doctor, observing and taking notes twice a week. On Friday they meet with Dr. Brian Sloan, Associate Professor in UNM's School of Medicine, to go over what they have learned.

It gives these students a chance to experience real world healthcare," said Sloan. "They get to see not only what different physicians do in different areas, but also what it is like to work with the community in that area. I hope that they see all the different aspects that contribute to people's health."

After having this experience I am looking at a diversity of practices to go into," said Honeyfield. "I enjoyed seeing the variety of patients."

Wiest named several things he had discovered in the time he had been in Hobbs. "This was my first time in a clinic. I didn't realize how different it was from a hospital; the clinic takes in everyone, not just appointments," he said. "From this, I saw what a high demand for healthcare that there is and the shortage of providers." He also spoke of how friendly the people were. "When I first got onto the Hobbs Express bus, the driver asked how I was doing and was very friendly. That would never happen in Albuquerque!"

In addition to shadowing, the BA/MD students are required to work on a community service project. Under the guidance of Sloan and the mentorship of Henderson, the group elected to take a survey of the need for public transportation to healthcare providers. "We want to see if there is a need for transportation to not only the doctor's office, but also to the dentist's office, to the therapist, and to the pharmacy," said Madrano. The students spend time passing out and gathering hand surveys as well as checking the web-surveys available at

As an Immersion student, Henderson has a more hands-on experience than the BA/MD students. In fact, he does everything a full-time doctor does except write prescriptions. Under the supervision of Dr. Sam Kankanala, Henderson greets patients, listens to their symptoms and examines the problem. He then submits his findings and possible diagnoses to Kankanala. "You get out of it what you put in," said Henderson in reference to his work in the program. He works in the office half a day each day, followed by write-ups on his patients and study time for topics he ran into that day.

When the students have finished for the day, they meet back at the NMJC apartments to go over their project together. "Being able to stay at NMJC is convenient, and in our extra time we can relax in our room or go to the gym on campus," said Crumbacher. "We've even had breakfast with the president, Dr. McCleery."

Although the first year for the BA/MD students to stay at NMJC, medical students from UNM have been coming for some time. "We've hosted UNM medical students for about eight years now, and it is a privilege to have these young professionals on campus." said Sandy Hardin, Coordinator of Housing at NMJC.

One day, residents of Lea County may be visiting one of these individuals for healthcare. It is good to know that they have had practical experience with the community and have a desire to help residents get the medical attention they need.

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