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10.17.2016

Service-minded student wins national family medicine honor

Port Townsend woman credits her parents, UW instructors, rural training opportunity

By Brian Donohue  |  HSNewsBeat  |  Updated 1:15 PM, 10.17.2016

Posted in: Education

  • UW medical student Brianne Huffstetler Rowan, center-right, leads community-building activities with community health workers in rural Vietnam. Courtesy of Brianne Huffstetler Rowan

Brianne Huffstetler Rowan, a fourth-year student at the University of Washington School of Medicine and recent graduate of the School of Public Health, is one of five U.S. recipients of a scholarship to pursue the specialty of family medicine. 

The Pisacano Leadership Foundation announced its 2016 scholars, citing their demonstrated leadership, superior academic achievement, communication skills and community service. Each will receive up to $28,000.

Huffstetler Rowan, 26, hails from Port Townsend; her schoolteacher parents imbued her with a value of giving back to community, she said, which has led her to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, the Seatte ROOTS homeless shelter, Relay for Life, and other organizations. She has spent six of the last nine summers in a Thailand village, with The Expedition Club, to bring American and Thai youth together for community building and English language instruction. 

Rowan-Huffstetler
Thai Nguyen University
Huffstetler Rowan trains Vietnamese medical students to support community health workers in rural areas.
picture of UW student Brianne Huffstetler Rowan trains Vietnamese medical students to support community health workers in rural areas.

As part of her masters of public health (in global health), Huffstetler Rowan spent a summer in Vietnam working with local medical students to develop peer-to-peer support groups to promote appropriate infant and young child feeding practices in rural areas. 

Asked what tilted her toward family medicine, she said, "It's a unique spot to connect with generations of our patients -- for instance, take care of a woman, go through a pregnancy and take care of that child and maybe even the next generation. It helps us understand what families in communities need, and do great public health work."

She expressed gratitude for the School of Medicine's WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho) program because "it gives us a chance to go out and learn in the rural communities that I'd like to work in." The faculty here, she added, "nurture in us humanism with our patients and encourage us to be thoughtful and present with them."

The Pisacano foundation was created in 1990 by the American Board of Family Medicine.

The other 2016 winners:

  • Crister Brady – University of California, Davis
  • Elise Duwe – University of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign
  • Brandon Hidaka – University of Kansas
  • Darrin Nichols – West Virginia University

UW Department of Family Medicine

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