A Call to Family Medicine
Growing up in Europe and Asia, Hannah Boehler saw firsthand the disparities between healthcare abroad compared to the United States. When her family left their position as Christian missionaries to return to Arkansas in 2010, she also observed the discrepancies that exist at home.
“There are a lot of gaps in terms of availability right here in Arkansas, depending on things like geography and socioeconomic factors,” Boehler says. “As I began to consider a career in medicine, I was really drawn to rural healthcare. I want to practice family medicine in a small town in Arkansas that has limited medical resources. It’s a calling.”
Upon graduating from Ouachita Baptist University in 2018, Boehler enrolled at NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine-Arkansas (NYITCOM-Arkansas). She was drawn to the school because of its mission to address issues of access to healthcare and education in the state region.
“NYITCOM has a rural focus and provides us with some really unique opportunities,” Boehler says. “I’ve participated in health screenings in several small towns through our Delta Care-a-van program, and some of my clinical experiences have been in rural communities. That’s where I want to ultimately practice, so I feel fortunate to get to see that now.”
Another component that drew Boehler to NYITCOM-Arkansas was the opportunity to be trained in osteopathic principles and philosophy.
“I really believe in the osteopathic principles that go into how we approach medicine and the holistic view,” Boehler says. “It’s about approaching the whole person and not just the disease. That’s so crucial to treating them, especially in family medicine, where you see so many problems, both chronic and acute. Additionally, osteopathic manipulative medicine is a helpful tool to have for diagnosis and treatment. It gives you another way to take care of patients, even when you have no other resources available other than your hands and your mind.”
Boehler recently completed NYITCOM’s Academic Medicine Scholars program, which allows select third-year students to step away from clinical rotations for one year to teach and conduct research while earning a Master of Science in Neuromusculoskeletal Sciences. She found the teaching aspects of the program to be particularly beneficial.
She has also taken on significant leadership roles during her time in Jonesboro. She served as Student Government Association president on the NYITCOM-Arkansas campus for the 2021-2022 academic year, and she is currently the national medical education representative on the Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents executive board.
“Long term, I want to be able to instill in others the passion I have for rural health as well,” Boehler says. “That may be through teaching as a preceptor or through some kind of academic program. The Academic Medicine Scholars program gave me that foundation in teaching that will benefit me as I try to instill in others the desire I have to help people who need it the most.”