Health Science Connection for Secondary & Post-Secondary Educators
MARCH 2015

You have been referred to our e-newsletter because you work with students who may be interested in a healthcare career.

Montana AHEC/ORH supports efforts to improve healthcare across Montana. One of our 3 key objectives is to help students explore careers in healthcare. We hope that this newsletter may become a great resource for you and your students. This month of March will focus on diabetes in recognition of American Diabetes Association Alert Day!

American Diabetes Association Alert Day
"National American Diabetes Association Alert Day is celebrated annually on the fourth Tuesday of every March.  This day is a one-day "wake-up call" to inform the American public about the seriousness of diabetes and encourages all to take the diabetes risk test and learn about your family's history of diabetes." For more information - American Diabetes Association

Medicaid's Western Push Hits Montana
"The Affordable Care Act is on the move in Western states, with the governors of Utah, Wyoming and Montana all working on deals with the Obama administration to expand Medicaid in ways tailored to each state." National Public Radio

Close Montana's Health Care Gap with Medicaid Expansion
"The Healthy Montana Act - House Bill 249, which aims to expand Medicaid in the state - has been introduced in the legislature and is worthy of citizen support. This act is important because Montana has a significant gap in access to health care for all citizens. The gap impacts 70,000 Montanans who have no health coverage. These are people living below 138 percent of the federal poverty line, not eligible for a subsidy yet earning too little to afford coverage through the exchange. This number includes 9,500 veterans and their families, 15,000 seniors and 20,000 American Indians. Nearly two-thirds are working people who cannot afford health care and are not covered by their employer." Missoulian

"...many people involved in the debate about Medicaid expansion overlook an important reality - more coverage won't necessarily result in better healthcare access for poor children. There just aren't enough doctors who will accept Medicaid patients. Due to a daunting shortage of providers, many children with health insurance coverage will continue experiencing significant barriers to care." The Hill

Team-based, Coordinated Medical Care on the Rise
"Depending on their health issues, patients might also talk to a nutritionist, behavioral health consultant, social worker or a mental health counselor, the idea being to get all the care they need taken care of in one place." Yakima Herald

Grass-roots Network: Community Health Workers Help Grow Stronger Provider-patient Ties
"Facing greater financial incentives to keep patients healthy and out of the hospital and the emergency department, some health systems and health plans have hired community health workers as one strategy to improve primary and preventive-care delivery and address the multiple social factors that can affect health or create barriers to healthcare." Modern Healthcare

CNA / EMT  Training
A webpage of Montana's CNA and EMT Training Opportunities / Programs has been created for a easy one stop location. Please contact Jordan Brown if you have any updated program information at View the webpage here CNA and EMT Programs
Basic X-Ray Techniques
This program is available to individuals preparing for radiology technology programs around the state, and a prerequisite for those attending Weber State Radiology program. It also serves the needs of the Registered Technologist who needs a refresher course.


Our Basic X-ray Techniques course will be held on March 13-14-15-16 and continue on March 27-28-29-30, 2015 at RiverStone Health. This 104-hour program, which includes a 35-hour correspondence course, is designed to meet the needs of those persons preparing to take the State of Montana, Board of Radiologic Technologist Limited Permit Exam and meets the North Dakota Educational Requirements for Limited X-ray Operators. This program has been awarded 67.5 Category A credits from the ASRT-American Society of Radiologic Technologists. Past participants have come from Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota, Nebraska, Alaska, Idaho and Washington.  Brochures were mailed in January.


For more information about this program please contact Claudia Janecek, Continuing Education Coordinator, Eastern Montana AHEC-RiverStone Health, Telephone (406)247-3336 or


Over 300 students will be converging on Bozeman, March 19-20, for the 11th Annual Montana HOSA: Future Health Professionals State Leadership Conference (SLC). SLC provides an opportunity for student members to demonstrate the knowledge and skills they have acquired during the school year. Students will also be spending an afternoon on the MSU campus participating in four of the over two dozen educational symposiums. 


HOSA provides a unique program of leadership development, motivation, and recognition exclusively for secondary and collegiate students enrolled in health science education and biomedical science programs or have interests in pursuing careers in health professions.  HOSA is not a club for a few members. Rather, it is a powerful instructional tool which is integrated into the Health Science Education and health science related core curriculum and classroom. HOSA's mission is especially critical when considering the acute shortage of qualified workers for Montana's healthcare industry. The 2015 National HOSA theme is "LEAD," and our Montana students are the next generation of healthcare industry leaders.


If you are interested in starting a HOSA chapter at your high school, contact Martha Robertson,

More information at


The Montana AHEC is excited to announce 2015 Summer Med Start Camps!

 These camps are designed for incoming high school Juniors/Seniors who are interested in exploring healthcare careers.  The camps provide numerous hands on activities, job shadows, and introduce students to college campus life.  Many scholarships are available, however, due to the competitive nature of the camps students are encouraged to apply early. Applications must be postmarked no later than March 20, 2015.  Additional information and applications can also be accessed at:




June 14 - 18 Missoula: University of Montana (UM)

July 12 - 16 Billings: Montana State University Billings (MSUB)
July 19 - 23 Butte: Montana Tech
August 2 - 6 Great Falls: University of Great Falls & Great Falls College


REACH is an acronym for Research and Explore Awesome Careers in Healthcare. The regional AHECs set up a partnership between local hospitals and high schools to provide students the opportunity to visit their local hospital and participate in hands-on activities in a variety of departments.


REACH Camp Tentative Schedule


April 14: Thompson Falls, Noxon, Plains, and Hot Springs students (Clark Fork Valley Hospital)

May 29: Eureka GEAR UP students (Kalispell Regional Medical Center)

April 29: St. Ignatius and Polson students (Providence St. Joseph Medical Center)

April 9: St. Ignatius Career Day


March 18-19: Poplar/Wolf Point ( Northeast Montana Health Services)

April 1: Miles City (Holy Rosary Healthcare)

April 29: Baker (Fallon County Medical Complex)


March 17: Deer Lodge (Deer Lodge Medical Center)

April 21: Butte (St. James Hospital)

April 29: Townsend (Broadwater Health Center)

Teresa Hicks is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator (RD, CDE). Certified Diabetes Educators can work in various settings and environments throughout communities. They counsel and educate groups and individuals within communities on nutrition, good eating habits, how to control blood sugar levels, and diabetes management.


According to the website PayScale, the national salary range for a Certified Diabetes Educator is $45, 768 - $80, 474.


How and why did you choose this career?

A. I don't know that I specifically chose diabetes initially. I wanted to try a different job, so I applied and got a job working with a diabetes team. After starting the job, it didn't take me long before I became very passionate about the field of diabetes. The information about diabetes management, prevention and education is always changing. There are always opportunities to gain knowledge and to learn to be more effective in working with clients and the community.   


What does a typical day in your work life look like?

A. My job has a lot of variety. I teach Community Health Aides in Alaska as part of my job. This involves using distance technology and also a significant amount of travel to Alaska. I also work on the website, developing patient education materials, strategic planning, and I see patients using distance technology and electronic health records. I'm currently also writing an article for publication, and I give a lot of talks. My job is always changing!

What are your working conditions like?

A. I work from my home office most of the time. I travel to Alaska on average once a month for about 5 days.  Some days I am very stressed, some days not at all...depending on what projects I have going on and if the timelines are all crashing  together at once.


What educational requirements are needed for your career?

First you need a health professional degree. I'm a dietitian, but a nurse, pharmacist, nurse practioner or physician can also specialize and become certified in diabetes. Once you have a recognized health professional degree you must work in the field of diabetes for 2 years and deliver 2,000 hours of direct diabetes care to sit for your boards to become a certified diabetes educator (CDE). If you pass your boards you get the credentials of a CDE. You are required to aquire CMEs related to diabetes and must renew your license every 5 years.


What skills and abilities are necessary in your profession?

A. I think the most important skills is to be good with people. Having a non-judgmental, open minded approach is very important in health care. All people want to be respected for where they are in life, and many of the situations a person with diabetes faces require an empathetic listener and a team member, not an authoritative know it all.


Any final thoughts?

A. The field of diabetes is so much bigger than just the chronic disease of diabetes itself. If you think of how many people who are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, if you are interested in helping people with nutrition, physical activity, stress, behavioral health or sleep health... you will be working in diabetes!


Hicks, T. (2015, March 6). Email interview.,. (2015). Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) Salary (United States). Retrieved 6 March 2015, from

View these high school lesson plans from the CDC focused on diabetes -

"KidsHealth in the Classroom" lesson plan that discusses a variety of issues within diabetes- 

Use these materials to help spread the word about American Diabetes Association Alert Day-
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Please contact us with your comments, ideas, questions or projects you'd like to see highlighted in future issues of this e-newsletter. And thank you for the work you do every day to inspire and support public health initiatives and healthcare in Montana!


Renee Harris -
Montana Area Health Education Center (AHEC)