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Grand Itasca Welcomes RPAP Medical Students

11/9/2018
Grand Rapids, MN – Since 1971, University of Minnesota medical students have had the opportunity to train in rural communities, such as Grand Rapids, as part of the Rural Physician Associate Program (RPAP). RPAP is a nine-month hands-on educational experience where third-year medical students shadow physicians in a variety of specialties, while giving them the opportunity to learn what it’s really like to work and live in rural areas. Over 40 students have been hosted in Grand Rapids since the program’s inception. Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital is happy to continue the long-standing tradition and wishes to welcome and introduce this year’s students, Jimmy McCluskey III and Logan Smestad.
 
Grand Rapids, MN – Since 1971, University of Minnesota medical students have had the opportunity to train in rural communities, such as Grand Rapids, as part of the Rural Physician Associate Program (RPAP). RPAP is a nine-month hands-on educational experience where third-year medical students shadow physicians in a variety of specialties, while giving them the opportunity to learn what it’s really like to work and live in rural areas. Over 40 students have been hosted in Grand Rapids since the program’s inception. Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital is happy to continue the long-standing tradition and wishes to welcome and introduce this year’s students, Jimmy McCluskey III and Logan Smestad.

Jimmy McCluskey III grew up in Deer River and graduated from Deer River High School. Following in the footsteps of his older sister, Desiree Rohling, who is an RN at Grand Itasca, he took his first job in health care as a Certified Nursing Assistant at the age of 16. "I found the health care world to be very appealing from a very young age,” says McCluskey. He started his undergraduate path at Itasca Community College and went on to complete his bachelor degree in Biochemistry at the College of St. Scholastica. Now in his third year of medical school at the University of Minnesota, McCluskey is “pretty set on focusing my practice in family medicine, most definitely in a rural setting, as it will allow me to have a very board scope of practice but still get to know my patients personally. People in this region are the 'salt of the earth' and I look forward to being part of their lives when I start my practice after residency."

Logan Smestad is from Nerstrand, a small town near Northfield, MN. He attended Gustavus Adolphus College where he got a bachelors degree in biology. His mixed bag of jobs following college included plant genetics research, substitute teaching, coaching high school x-country skiing, and working as a paramedic at North Memorial in Minneapolis. "It was this exposure to urgent and emergent care that peaked my interest in health care, particularly the preventive stuff, which would keep patients from needing paramedics and emergency rooms,” says Smestad. Now well on his way to becoming a doctor, he is confident that he will pursue a family medicine practice, so he can address the preventive care issues with his patients. Smestad’s wife, Danielle, also works in the medical field, as a Family Medicine Nurse Practitioner. She recently accepted a position with Grand Itasca and starts in early 2019. Smestad says “we [he and his wife] love rural communities where, not only can we do the things we love such as hike, bike and x-country ski, but we can build personal lifelong relationships with our patients."


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