Record Number of PNWU Students Accepted Into Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation's SIMS Program


This year proved to be yet another step forward in Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences long and successful history with the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, as more PNWU students than ever were accepted into the Medical Education department’s Summer Institute for Medical Students program (SIMS).

PNWU medical students Preston DeHan (OMS I), Ashley Frantz (OMS I), Jason Helbig (OMS I) Kasey Johnson (OMS I) and Thomas Kincheloe (OMS III) were all accepted into the program, which has often been described as “life-changing” by those who participate in it. Through the foundations SIMS program, qualified medical students are provided an opportunity to gain an inside understanding of what is arguably the nation’s leading health problem: substance use disorders.

Students in the Hazelden Betty Ford Medical Education department’s SIMS programs gain extraordinary insight into the dynamics of addiction and the process of healing, studying the bio-psycho-social-spiritual aspects of the disease of addiction, evidence-based and holistic approaches to care, and Twelve Step recovery principles and practices. The program, which is offered at no cost to qualifying applicants thanks to the generosity of Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation donors, received 400 applicants this year, accepting 180 participants from 100 total medical schools.

“We accept medical students that we believe will make a major difference back home in their hospitals and communities,” explained Joseph Skrajewski, Executive Director of Medical and Professional Education at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. “PNWU students' applications were written straight from the heart regarding why they wanted to attend SIMS and learn. They were genuine, authentic, with some having personal experiences connecting them to addiction. Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation's bio-psycho-social-spiritual model fits in nicely with PNWU, as well. This year was the largest number of students that we have ever accepted from there.”

“I am pleased that our students have had this amazing opportunity,” said Erin Hepner, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at PNWU.  “In first year Community Doctoring it is really emphasized that knowing the social history of a patient is vital to guiding treatment. Without it, medical management can be detrimental. Also, many clinicians have friends and family with addiction or they have it themselves and the Hazelden Betty Ford’s SIMS program allows our student doctors to understand how to best serve their future patients and perhaps have the opportunity to heal themselves. The program offers a holistic approach, which is certainly in line with the PNWU mission.”

“We are grateful to Dr. Erin Hepner and the other PNWU faculty that support SIMS,” added Skrajewski. “The impact that Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences is making in advancing their students' awareness and education on addiction is huge, and they are setting a strong example to their students to learn and bring important information from SIMS back to their hospitals and communities. They are making a significant positive difference and we look forward to another rich learning experience with PNWU’s students this summer.”