From being homeless, to medical school: How one WSU student wants to help rural communities – KHQ Right Now

WSU's Elson Floyd College of Medicine is preparing today's young people to be tomorrow's doctors, with the hopes that they'll stay in Spokane and fill a much needed hole in medical care, especially in rural communities.

KHQ talked with one medical student, whose story is a little different from the doctor in training story you may be used to.

"From childhood, my experience was being with doctors or nurses, learning about my body, and what was going wrong," Reilly Bealer, medical student, said.

Growing up, Reilly was constantly in and out of the hospital because of kidney infections. But she says doctors didn't scare her.

Instead she found comfort in the hospital, because the rest of her life was so uncomfortable. Reilly was homeless for years and saw first hand how hard it was just to get in to see a doctor.

"A lot of people will wait to see the doctor until their condition is so severe that they need more severe, or in-depth management," Bealer said.

Her frustration, she learned, was shared by thousands of people who live in smaller rural communities, where the wait-time to see a doctor can be up to six months.

"That's medication you may need to survive, or prevent infections, and if you can't afford it, what else can you do," Bealer said.

She described Spokane as a big, small town. But as the city grows, Reilly says physicians aren't coming here. That's why Reilly said she wants to practice medicine in Eastern Washington, because she knows the hardships small towns are facing.

"Under served and rural areas, tend to be sicker areas," Bealer said.

Reilly still has a few years left of medical school, but she said no one thought she'd even get this far.

"I'm trying to prove them wrong, that you can make something of yourself," Bealer said.

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From being homeless, to medical school: How one WSU student wants to help rural communities - KHQ Right Now

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