Transitioning from physician to teacher
By MOLLY WALKER
Of the News-Register
CARLTON - It's been nearly 14 years since Dr. Michael Jaczko, an osteopathic physician, opened his practice in the small wine country community of Carlton. But he's always loved teaching.
He's decided to act on that desire by accepting a position with Oregon's newest medical school, Western University's COMP-Northwest in Lebanon. A farewell dessert is slated to run from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 27, at the Carlton Depot/Tyrus Evan, 120 N. Pine St.
When he started, Jaczko recalls, there were no doctors in Carlton. He said former Willamette Valley Medical Center CEO Rosemari Davis was one of those who alerted him to the opportunity.
"They showed me the town and I instantly fell in love," said Jaczko, who opened his first office on Main Street.
Seven years later, he moved to his current location at 348 S. Pine St. The next year, he became a contract employee of the hospital instead of a sole practitioner.
For the last 12 years, Jaczko has also worked with medical students who attend Western University of Health Sciences in Pomon, including physicians training in McMinnville through the school's Northwest Track.
Seeing an opportunity, Western opened a new state-of-the-art facility in Lebanon. The 105-member freshman class just completed its first year and will move up to become the school's first sophomore class.
An additional 107 students will begin this fall. The school is partnering with the Samaritan Health System.
Jaczko completed his residency at the now-closed Eastmoreland Hospital in Portland. He said most of the teaching for Western had been offered through the facility, so its closure in 2006 forced changes.
With Jaczko's encouragement, Willamette Valley became one of the teaching hospitals for the Northwest Track students, starting with the 2010-11 school year.
Jaczko, who served as state president for the Osteopathic Physicians & Surgeons of Oregon from 2006 to 2008, had been involved with the development of the new medical school from the outset.
He will serve as director of clinical education. He also will serve as an assistant professor of family medicine for third and fourth year students.
When students are on rotation at various sites, like the local hospital, he will visit the various locales to assess how their education is progressing and also will teach classes and help staff the residence clinic in Corvallis.
While he's looking forward to the opportunity - saying goodbye to his patients has been difficult. "It's heartbreaking for me to leave," he said.
When Jaczko started, he really wanted to become entrenched in the community. And he has been successful.
He has served as a team doctor in both football and basketball. He has offered free sports physicals, presented lectures and supported a myriad of community programs.
"I've loved this town and always wanted to give back," he said. Although he lives in Dundee, he's developed great relationships in Carlton.
Jaczko believes one aspect that has endeared him to his patients is his ability to really listen.
Many times, he said, that's lost on today's physicians. By being a teacher, he hopes to create many more physicians with that quality.
Jaczko wants to work to keep the motivation that most physician students have to give back.
"Medicine is such a difficult study," Jaczko said. "It's important to keep the fire under them and keep their heads up."
He added that physicians are very necessary and future shortages are predicted.
Jaczko said the new position will allow him a little more flexibility to spend time with his family, including his wife, Amy, and children, Alexander, 11, Olivia, 9, and Zachary, 11 months.
He is retaining ownership of his office quarters in Carlton and his residence in Dundee. He said he has no intention of moving.
Jaczko said he's sad to leave his patients, after he's invested so much into their care. However, he said he's leaving them in capable hands.
Dr. Brian Miller of the Verdura Family Wellness clinics in Hillsboro and Vernonia will take over for him in Carlton on July 1. Hours will be from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
Miller is a friend of Jaczko's. They did their residencies together at Eastmoreland.
"He's a complete patient advocate, wonderful in every way," Jaczko said.