We descended from the summit south of John Day, and then crossed the valley and climbed an 11% grade to the home of Dr. Bob Holland and his wife Karin Holland. Why do all these doctors live on top of mountains? :)
They very graciously invited us into their home, but then Wes and Nathan reciprocated by inviting Dr. Holland and his rotating 4th year medical student, Gabe, to a friendly game of golf at the local golf course. Little did the boys know that they were up against a very experienced golfer. After Dr. Bob easily took the game, they came back to the house for a party hosted by the Hollands. We were able to meet many of the physicians that work in the community, and it seemed like each had a medical student or resident in tow.
Right now the John Day community has a relative plentitude of physicians. Dr. Holland has his own family practice, and in addition to that there is another family practice that now has six providers. Their goal is to be able to see patients the same day they call in for an appointment or the next day, and for the most part, they have been able to do that.
We gave the presentation to a group mostly comprised of participants in the John Day Chamber of Commerce. They were a very interested crowd with lots of good insights and questions. One topic we discussed was the need for the community to both actively recruit and retain medical providers but to also support the local public school system. Many physicians and other professionals move to rural Oregon with their families, and so their children are going to be students in the local school system. One of their priorities is a healthy education for their children. This means that without a strong local school, physicians will not move to or stay in that community. This is just one more example we have found of the network of support necessary for a strong rural community.
The next day, we rode from John Day to Nathan's parent's ranch in Sumpter Valley. It was a beautiful ride - about 57 miles with three mountain passes all over 5,000 ft. The weather was perfect. We had a cool, overcast morning of cycling, and arrived to the ranch in time for lunch! Now we are slated for some work with the cattle and a presentation in Baker City tomorrow. We hope to see you there!