The Upper Peninsula Area Education Center (UP-AHEC) has been working to identify the primary health care needs in Gogebic and Ontonagon counties. UP-AHEC staff members have been attending relevant meetings in these areas and recruiting a stakeholders group, which consists of representation from local health care facilities, academic institutions and mental health agencies. The center is looking for additional community members in business or health care to join the group. UP-AHEC also completed a “Primary Care Provider Retention Survey” and will present the results during a public Health Care Recruitment Roundtable on Tuesday, Aug. 9, in Ironwood.
UP-AHEC is based at Northern Michigan University. Its primary goal is to ensure access to health care in the future by recruiting and retaining health professionals with diverse expertise—a challenge in the predominantly rural Upper Peninsula.
In March, UP-AHEC worked with local stakeholders and health providers in the area to conduct a survey on primary care provider retention. Contrary to fears that health care workers want to move away, most respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed with statements inquiring about moving outside of the community for better work or a better lifestyle. They also indicated that they are happy with the community support and believe their organizations have a positive impact on the area.
Challenges identified by the survey included the difficulty health care professionals have in connecting with community members in the same age group with similar interests. These and other results will be shared at the Health Care Recruitment Roundtable from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 9, at the Lindquist Center at Gogebic Community College. Health providers, business leaders and community members are invited to take part in dialogue addressing effective retention and recruitment techniques.
To join the Gogebic-Ontonagon stakeholders group, which helps to identify health care priorities and design responsive programs, contact Carole Touchinski at UP-AHEC at 906-227-1640.