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iConnect News


Beyond the Campus Walls: Ruth Michaelis, MD, RDME, HealthPoint CHC

June 7, 2016
Posted In: SOMA, Student Headlines

Since graduating from her medical residency in 2002, Ruth Michaelis, MD, Regional Director of Medical Education (RDME), A.T. Still University-School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA), has served at HealthPoint Community Health Center (CHC) in Seattle, Washington. Having experienced a problem-based learning curriculum in medical school, she decided that alternative learning and underserved care were areas for which she had great enthusiasm. “Working as an RDME is a perfect blend of these two passions,” says Dr. Michaelis. She is also one of the original RDMEs from the founding of ATSU-SOMA. Dr. Michaelis was born in South Africa and immigrated to Boston, Massachusetts at age 12.  “Before medical school, I worked for a community health advocacy organization as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer for three years. With this background, I knew before medical school that I wanted to practice family medicine in a community health center. Dr. Michaelis attended medical school at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and completed her family medicine residency at Swedish Family Medicine Residency at Cherry Hill Clinic in Seattle, which emphasizes underserved care. Being a healthcare provider at HealthPoint CHC, Dr. Michaelis serves a diverse population of individuals. “HealthPoint is a home for our patients to receive comprehensive care under one roof,” says Dr. Michaelis.  “We care about all aspects of our patients’ care and with a coordinated approach to provide the best outcomes.  It’s incredible to be on a team with behavioral health, dental, naturopathy, acupuncture, pharmacy and other primary care specialties and know that their expertise is synergistic with what I can provide. I rely on my team members and am enthusiastic about their dedication to making the patient their top priority.” Dr. Michaelis notes that HealthPoint has also always prioritized the ATSU-SOMA program and welcomes and supports the students in every way that they can. “It’s great to belong to an organization that invests in education and sees the benefit of our future in these motivated, mission-driven learners,” she says. Dr. Michaelis finds that the best part of being an RDME is watching students develop and grow as healers from when they first arrive and have had little prior patient contact, to when they are at the end of their fourth year of medical school and are seeing patients with her and are useful team players and colleagues. “I also really love the role of mentoring as I see students work through struggles and ultimately achieve their goals,” she says.  “The students inspire me in their caring and altruism. They find time to get involved in their interests even when not related to medical school.  We do clinical reflection together, and I’m touched by their insights and how they relate to patients.” “I feel comfortable sharing my own reflection stories from the week and enjoy having an outlet to discuss patient situations,” adds Dr. Michaelis. “ATSU-SOMA students often bring innovative practices to procedure clinic, teaching me new techniques that I incorporate into my toolkit. I love learning and experiencing OMT from our students, and the contribution that their OMT knowledge brings to our patient care.” When not filling her days providing care at HealthPoint, Dr. Michaelis can be found playing the mandolin, traveling, meditating, hiking, cooking, and singing with her two children, Aidan age 10 and Eowyn, age 6. DSC_5764Dr. Morgan_Dr. Gevitz_Class of 2018OMM (9)

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