Big thanks to everyone who entered the RTT Collaborative’s 2021 Photo Contest!! There were so many submissions, and we had a difficult time picking through the talent to pick the few winners. That being said, we’re extremely proud of the five submissions who won the contest this year. View them below, and keep an eye out for next year’s photo contest announcement!



first place

“Bringing a Voice to Rural Health”
Janelle Lee, Port Angeles, WA

One of the things that surprised me about rural education, is the opportunity to work closely with members of the community who are involved with the public health office, volunteer medicine, the city council, the fire department, the jail medicine team, the needle exchange program, social and family advocacy groups, the police chief and other officers to address key issues including preventative medicine, substance use, behavioral health, homelessness, incarceration, community policing, systemic racism, social justice and other socioeconomic topics. It has been rewarding to offer a voice from primary care to these conversations and brainstorm ways to advocate for those whose voices are not always heard.



second place

“A Resilient Land and a Resilient People”
Abigail Ahyong, Gilbert, AZ

During my family medicine clerkship, I spent four weeks in Winslow, Arizona, working with various providers of the Winslow Indian Health Care Center (WIHCC). Mornings were spent at the local public hospital checking in on and admitting WIHCC patients. Afternoons were outpatient clinic days at either the main clinic hub in Winslow, or at one of the two rural clinics in the Navajo Nation.

This clerkship afforded me the opportunity to not only learn family medicine, but it gave me the opportunity to delve deeper into how healthcare is delivered in the Navajo Nation. With a traditional Navajo healer on staff, I witnessed the approach of care that incorporated Western Medicine with traditional Navajo healing. As a team, we worked to address both the social and medical needs of the patients, sometimes enlisting the help of community health workers to follow-up on patients living in remote areas. With the high prevalence of diabetes, the clinic incorporated an interdisciplinary approach with patients meeting with the physician, pharmacist, and dietician all on the same day. This helped fill in any gaps, allowed for more detailed and personal diabetes education, and personalized each patient care plane moving forward.

This is where I fell in love with family medicine. This is where I witnessed how resourceful and resilient the patients, providers, and community were in the Navajo Nation. This is where my passion for rural medicine was reconfirmed.



third place

“Being welcomed into a community”
Natalie Weeks, Merrill, WI

My third-year medical school rural OB/GYN experience had an exciting, unexpected turn of events. I was on-call in anticipation for a delivery later that evening at Aspirus Riverview Hospital. To pass time, I visited my classmate’s childhood dairy farm, Marti Farms, that is located nearby. During her tour of her farm, we noticed a cow in distress. It was apparent she was laboring and going to deliver shortly. We coached her through the delivery and watched as her new calf began to take in all the sights and sounds around her. The surrounding heifers that had been present for the labor and delivery slowly approached the new baby. They surrounded her and welcomed her into their fold. Their gentle, welcoming demeanor with the newest addition made the moment so touching. This was certainly not the OB/GYN delivery experience I was expecting that night, but it perfectly summed up the experience of completing medical training in a rural location. The cohesive, supportive environment of the labor and delivery floor of the hospital is not all that much different than the one in this dairy barn. This is a moment from my medical career that I will cherish always.



honorable mention

“Time to Reflect” 
Veronica Harrison, Bismarck, ND

This photo was taken just north of New Rockford ND sitting on an abandoned bridge over the James River. It represents where I wish I were at any given time. A calm, familiar, place that feels like home on a warm summers day with time to think about how far I have come in my medical career. To truly take a moment to look at myself and appreciate that despite all the hardships and hurdles in my life I have made it so far and plan on continuing even farther.



honorable mention

“A Quiet Place”
Katrina Johnson, St. Joseph, MN

One thing that I loved most about my experience in a rural location outside of healthcare was my ability to explore the natural beauty of the surrounding areas. This is Lake Tschida near Elgin, ND just over an hour from my clinic site. I took many trips here on weekends to relax, explore, or even study. Although this was one of my favorite spots, I had several different locations that I explored and truly cherish these unique memories!