Bassett greets medical students on regional tour

A class of 44 graduating medical students spent Thursday afternoon considering options in upstate New York health care.

Iroquois Healthcare Association, which serves 54 hospitals through the state, piloted the “Take a Look” program in 2013 to expose medical students to residency and practice opportunities in the upstate region.

Fourth-year medical students from St. George’s University in Grenada stopped at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown Thursday during a three-day tour of the region. Earlier in the day, the group made stops at the Mohawk Valley Health System St. Elizabeth Medical Center and St. Luke’s Campus in Utica.

“We train some of the best doctors in the country, but more than half end up leaving the state,” said IHA spokesperson Amelia Trigg. Students said the tour was helpful in letting them see and explore possible career options.

Bassett leaders offered an introduction to the health care network and its assets without excluding the challenges of rural health care.

Director of the Bassett Research Institute Dr. Anne Gadomski shared the health issues prevalent in the patient population, including obesity and opioid addiction. She made note of the network’s research and efforts through the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health, which reaches through the Northeast.

Clinical Psychologist Dr. James Anderson laid out the network’s approach to curb opioid addiction via medication-assisted treatment in primary care. Doctors told the students that they could expect the medicine they would practice at Bassett to match the caliber of urban areas, and that they shouldn’t be worried about not being exposed to a wide breadth of clinical problems.

On a tour of the hospital’s primary care, cancer and surgery departments, several students said that they had already applied for residencies at Bassett, including Janvi Wadiwala of Perry, Georgia. She said she was intrigued by the research opportunities.

Second-year resident Mahyar Afrooz, a graduate of St. George’s University, spoke to the students and said he was first attracted to Bassett’s friendliness and organization. He admitted that moving from Toronto, Canada, to Cooperstown was an adjustment, but said that residents enjoyed a fraternal bond.

While many residents move on from Bassett to careers in cities across the country, at least one visitor was planning to tackle treating undeserved rural populations.

“My long-term goal is to open my own rural clinic in an area of need,” said David Bonner of Vancouver, Washington. He also said that he admired Bassett for its history and tradition of nearly 100 years of care.

Erin Jerome, staff writer, may be reached at (607) 441-7221, or at Follow her on Twitter at @DS_ErinJ .