Looking back on 20 years of RHOP with Melissa Muhs

Since its inception in 1990, 356 students have graduated from the Rural Health Opportunities Program (RHOP).

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Melissa Muhs
Many of those young health care professionals returned to rural towns in Nebraska where they live and practice today. Here is a look at one of those professionals in recognition of the 20th anniversary of the RHOP program.

Melissa Muhs works as a physician assistant at Sidney Medical Associates, a family practice clinic in Sidney, Neb., with her husband Mitch Muhs, who also is a physician assistant and graduate of the RHOP program.

How do you feel your participation in the RHOP program affected your career as a rural health practitioner?

I think RHOP increases commitment to health care in rural areas and increases awareness of the benefits and challenges that go along with practicing in these areas.

What was your most memorable moment as a student and now as a practitioner?

There were so many memorable moments ... anatomy was grueling, but I loved it. Dr. Binhammer's gait lecture and demonstration in his shorts was memorable. As a practitioner, I think that I learn something new every day.

Who is one instructor from your education that had the greatest influence on you? Why?

I was blessed to have great instructors in the UNMC PA program, all offering pearls of wisdom that have been useful. Darwin Brown's lectures were my favorite and he gave great advice.

Why are you practicing where you are now?

When my husband and I graduated from PA school, we both wanted to work in a rural area. Sidney wanted to hire two PA's at the same time, so we jumped at the chance. We have stayed for the last seven years because the physicians that we work with have been great teachers and they are all supportive. The nurses and other staff have become an extended family.


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