N.D. public health doctor writes about birth of MEDEX program at UND“Medicine in the Back of Beyond,” by Dr. Robert C. Eelkema with Patrick A. McGuire, illustrations by Eileen Feist; self-published, 2012; 172 pages
By: Herald Staff Report, Grand Forks Herald
“Medicine in the Back of Beyond,” by Dr. Robert C. Eelkema with Patrick A. McGuire, illustrations by Eileen Feist; self-published, 2012; 172 pages
This subtitle of this engrossing, often funny and insightful little book is: “How a savvy North Dakota public health doctor helped pioneer a radical strategy that extended the reach of doctors into rural America.”
Eelkema, the public health doctor in question, describes the early opportunities that led to the birth of the MEDEX program at UND and how the UND nurse practitioner and physician assistant programs grew from it.
The book jacket describes it as part autobiography and part history lesson, with stories of those who went on to make an essential difference in health care services throughout the nation. Eelkema looks at his roots (he was a veterinarian before he was a doctor) and shares the wisdom that comes from introspection later in life.
Eelkema’s peers have described him as a central figure in building the modern UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences. UND in the 1960s was on the forefront of an effort to train a new kind of health care provider who could ease the burden of doctors and bring health care to where it was needed most. Eelkema was a champion of the idea, which was considered radical at the time.
“Medicine in the Back of Beyond” is available in print and as an e-book.