Kate Hartzell - Executive Director, SWCAHEC
March 5, 2020
Hi explorer

Director's Letter:
As residents of Southwestern Colorado, most of us have been impacted by the shortage of healthcare professionals in our region. Those who work in healthcare here are dedicated, innovative, highly skilled, and committed to meeting the needs of their patients.
But shortages in many areas affect access to care and lead to a healthcare workforce that is, in some cases, overworked and burned out. As the new Executive Director of SWCAHEC, I am committed to continuing to develop this organization as a healthcare workforce capacity-building resource for the region. SWCAHEC was created to address the healthcare professional shortages in Southwestern Colorado and we use a pipelining model to accomplish this goal.
At the beginning of the pipeline is our high school SWCAHEC Healthcare Careers Exploration Program. The purpose of these activities is to inspire young community members to become healthcare professionals by exposing them to the many possibilities for jobs in healthcare and by helping them plan for related training and education. It is our hope that these young, motivated community members will become our future healthcare providers bringing both their excellent training and their love and connection to Southwestern Colorado. The middle of the pipeline addresses the education and training of healthcare professions students. SWCAHEC programs enrich the education of these students by providing knowledge and skills around practicing in rural and underserved areas. These programs not only serve as recruiting tools but also create a workforce uniquely qualified to serve us. SWCAHEC programs at the end of the pipeline support practicing healthcare professionals and communities to increase wellness in Southwestern Colorado. The goal of these programs is to increase the retention of providers and to provide local opportunities to learn about emerging health issues, innovative practice techniques, and the most current best practices in healthcare and community health.
The pipeline model clearly and succinctly describes what we do at SWCAHEC. It is a metaphor that effectively expresses our comprehensive approach to addressing the health issues in our rural and underserved region. Helping to create and support a healthcare workforce is a process with each step building and strengthening the next step. I encourage you all to visit our website at swcahec.org to learn more about our programs. I am grateful for our partners and for the opportunity to work on behalf of our communities. Please reach out to me with your ideas and needs, I look forward to working with you!

Kate Hartzell

SWCAHEC Highlights

It's been an action packed year so we wanted to highlight our team and some of our projects.
Heather Sorensen, RN, MSN
Education Liaison
Heather's background is in community health, social service, and public health nursing in both rural and urban settings. At SWCAHEC, she manages the AHEC Scholars Program, housing for student clinical rotations, nursing, and clinical trainings (HIPAA and QMAP).
Healthcare Skills Workshops
Thanks to generous funding from the Telligen Community Initiative, SWCAHEC is now offering Healthcare Skills Workshop Series for Fort Lewis College Students for students interested in a career in healthcare. Workshops include; HIPAA, QMAP, Naloxone, and QPR.
Qmap Training
SWCAHEC is now an approved Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) training site for QMAP. With the support of the Telligen Community Initiative, Heather created the curriculum to provide a local and in person QMAP training for our community which allows staff working in healthcare facilities to administer medications.

Trauma Informed Care

On November 6th Resilient Colorado delivered a Trauma Informed Care training at the Durango Recreation Center funded by the Telligen Community Initiative to 38 attendees from around the region. Trauma Informed Youth Champions participants included professionals that work with youth, including teachers, community resource organizations, public health and community members. This training focused on Trauma Informed approached to working with youth.
On November 7th Resilient Colorado delivered a training to 28 providers at the Durango Library. This training provided 3.25 Continuing Medical Education units (CME’s) to participants. This training focused on Trauma Informed approached to working with patients in the clinical setting.
Mary Dengler-Frey, MLA
Behavioral Health Programs/Regional Health Connector
Mary focuses on building alliances between primary care, public health, and community organizations. She is in charge of behavioral health related trainings which include; QPR and Naloxone and helps with transformation goals around the social determinants of health.
SWCAHEC Conducts a Naloxone Training in Dolores County
As the opioid epidemic and related issues with substance abuse and drug overdoses increase, conversations about how to keep the public safe continue in Southwestern Colorado. SWCAHEC has contributed to that conversation by offering Naloxone trainings during which participants are able to both discuss their experiences with drug overdoses and to learn one technique to save lives in the face of these overdoses. Naloxone is a synthetic drug that blocks the opioid receptors in the brain and reverses the toxic effects that lead to death. By knowing more about how opioids have affected our region and understanding how to recognize an overdose and intervene, we can do more to try to avoid the pain and sorrow that accompany overdose.
A Naloxone training held in the Dolores County Service Center conference room on January 29th, also funded by the Telligen Community Initiative, provided introductory instruction on the identification and prevention of opioid overdoses, and demonstrated methods of using Naloxone to 35 attendees. Attendees included personnel from several Dolores County departments, including Public Health, the Sheriff and undersheriffs, Department of Social Services, Road and Bridge crews, PA’s from the Community Clinic, County Commissioners, administrative personnel, and Young People in Recovery representatives.

Nursing Celebration and Education Event
A Celebration of Nursing: Care, Compassion, and Culture in Southwestern Colorado

We are excited to announce that Michelle Kahn-John, (Diné) PhD, RN PMHNP-BC, GNP will be attending the Nursing Celebration and Education Event held on May 7th at Fort Lewis College.
Dr. Michelle Kahn-John’s nursing expertise spans 25 years, 20 of which have been as a psychiatric nurse/geriatric practitioner with the Indian Health Services and MH centers in Alaska, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. As a Clinical Associate professor with the University of Arizona, she teaches in the Doctor of Nursing Psychiatric Specialty, with a focus on courses (3) in the final clinical residency year. She is enthusiastic about the development of respectful and collaborative research with American Indian communities. Her sacred Diné (Navajo) wellness philosophy carries over into her multifaceted role as a nurse, healthcare provider, AI spiritual wisdom keeper, teacher, scholar, scientist, mentor, consultant, leader and Diné woman.
Welcome Dr. Kahn-John!
Anatomy Instruction for Healthcare Professions Recruitment and Overall Health Promotion
SWCAHEC is developing an anatomy curriculum for area students and community members that includes a hands-on component using the Anatomy in Clay® program.

Anatomy in Clay® is a program that increases knowledge of human anatomy by using a hands-on approach to learning in which students build anatomical features on a model (or Maniken®). This approach allows students to build anatomical features from the inside out on scale-model skeletons that gives them a three-dimensional perspective of the human body. This program can be used with many different populations and can be diversified to accommodate different learning styles and learners.

SWCAHEC Would Like to Thank Our
Adopt a Maniken Supporters!

Stephanie Clements, RN, MBA, CENP is the Vice President of Clinical Care and the Chief Nursing Officer at Centura/Mercy Regional Medical Center and SWCAHEC board vice-president. She brings her healthcare leadership experience as well as her enthusiasm to every SWCAHEC function. Stephanie is a huge supporter of SWCAHEC’s educational programs and we appreciate her dedication to the future healthcare workforce in our region!

Karen Zink, CNP, MS of Southwest Women’s Health Associates has always invested in the Healthcare community in Durango. She is a mentor for Nurses and Nurse Practitioners and a role model for aspiring healthcare professionals for her dedication to providing the highest quality of care for her patients and promoting wellness for the whole community. SWCAHEC is grateful for our collaboration with Karen and for her continued investment in her future colleagues!

And thank you to the Telluride Foundation for your support!
Telluride foundation logo
SW CO Healthcare Sector Partnership Alliance log
The Southwest Colorado Healthcare Sector Partnership Alliance brings together healthcare industry leaders, educational institutions, community partners, and workforce advocates at a single table to address healthcare workforce issues in the region. With funding assistance from the Colorado Workforce Development Council, the alliance explores pressing healthcare workforce needs and developing healthcare education programming. Pressing issues raised at past meetings discussed the need for a skilled and experienced nursing workforce, the ongoing difficulty in filling positions with licensed behavioral health counselors, the challenges of recruiting qualified healthcare specialists to the region, and the continued efforts to retain trained paraprofessionals in clinical settings. The next meeting of the Southwest Colorado Healthcare Sector Partnership Alliance has been scheduled for Wednesday, April 8th from 3:00-5:00.

Welcome Interns!

Mentoring is a key component to student success and the SWCAHEC Internship program provides students with opportunities to work with staff on community health, healthcare education, and practice transformation projects. Student interns are expected to contribute to the goals and objectives of current initiatives at the organization and to work on an independent project related to their academic area and future career goals. This spring, SWCAHEC has two interns from the Fort Lewis College Department of Public Health.
Both Kaitlyn and Kelly are interested in nursing and plan to use their public health degrees to enrich their nursing education. They agree that public health will lend a broader perspective to the care that they will provide their patients and that an understanding of concepts like the social determinants of health will expand their capacity to address the issues that affect patient vulnerability to disease and access to wellness. According to Kelly, “There are so many factors that affect health; early childhood experiences, the environment (built and natural), behaviors, genetics…..understanding the impact of these factors on patient health, and gaining a more well-rounded, holistic view of health will help me treat and care for patients,” while Kaitlyn added, “Understanding how a patient's background affects their health will allow me to be more compassionate in caring for them.”
The internship at SWCAHEC has given both women new and different perspectives on the healthcare workforce and related education and training.

Get Ready for the Health Careers Institute!

High school students from eight Colorado counties: Archuleta, Dolores, Hinsdale, La Plata, Montezuma, Ouray, San Juan & San Miguel are invited to attend a Healthcare Careers Institute on June 6-9th on the campus of Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO.
We are grateful for our sponsors! TRIO Talent Search at Fort Lewis College, Telluride Foundation and Enterprise Holdings Foundation. Your support enables us to enrich the lives of students from all over Southwestern Colorado by exposing them to new and exciting career possibilities and by teaching them strategies to increase their overall wellness.

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