Members of the Oak Valley Hospital District board welcomed Escalon native Vincent Arthur Bacay as their third Rural PRIME medical student at their Sept. 28 board meeting. Bacay will be working on an eight-week primary care rotation with several Oakdale doctors until Oct. 21.
Bacay is the latest University of California Davis Medical student and Rural PRIME participant to spend a rotation at Oak Valley Hospital. Rural PRIME (Program in Medical Education) is a five-year MD with a Masters program in public health offered to medical students at UC Davis. The program was designed to encourage medical students to consider practicing in small or rural communities once they complete medical school. Bacay and other third year Rural PRIME students spend several four- to eight-week rotations at rural hospitals to get hands-on experience with practicing medicine in small towns.
“It provides students an opportunity to see how great our community is,” said David Rodrigues, Oak Valley’s business development and clinics director.
Rodrigues said that rural communities often have a hard time finding and keeping physicians. He cited statistics that California will face a shortage of 17,000 physicians by 2015. With more medical students choosing to practice in bigger cities than in rural areas this shortage will be most felt in small communities. Rodrigues said that so far the Rural PRIME program has been a win-win situation for Oak Valley Hospital and UC Davis students.
“All three of the students have been a joy to work with,” Rodrigues said.
Bacay graduated from Escalon High and is currently in his third year of medical school at UC Davis. Bacay said that he was attracted to the Rural PRIME program because it allowed him to graduate with both an MD and a Masters in public health. He said that his father’s career has taken the family all over the country, from Seattle to New York and internationally to the Philippines. But he has spent the most time in Escalon, and he said that he enjoys the opportunity to study so close to home.
“I feel very blessed to be out here and it’s good to be home,” Bacay said.
Students in the Rural PRIME rotations have the opportunity to work with doctors in their host community. Bacay has been working with Drs. Basi, Arecay and Mahida over the past few weeks. He said that the doctors and other medical staff have been very enthusiastic to have a medical student observing and participating.
“One of the best things about the program is that there are more chances for experience. In bigger hospitals there are a lot of interns and other medical students around. In Oakdale it’s pretty much just the doctors, the nurses and me,” Bacay said.
Bacay’s rotation in Oakdale will end in two weeks. He said that he has enjoyed the opportunity to spend some time studying at home but he also looks forward to his next rotation, which will be in Jackson.