Twice a year, students from across the region are invited to apply for the Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) Scholars program. The ARH Scholars are awarded a $5,000 academic scholarship to pursue a degree in healthcare. Their stories are unique, but a common thread unites every winner: a desire to make a difference to the people of Appalachia through healthcare. The Fall 2019 class of ARH Scholars included ten talented future healthcare providers, like Madison Noe.
Madison Noe is originally from Harlan, Kentucky and is currently attending the East Tennessee State University Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy, class of 2021. Madison received her undergraduate degree at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, where she earned her Associate in Science Degree. Madison was accepted into pharmacy school early. “I start my rotation in May of this year, so I’m almost finished,” Madison says. “I’m a little ahead.”
In her spare time, Madison is also a self-described pageant girl. “I’m competing for Miss Tennessee Volunteer this year. Last year I competed for Miss Tennessee, as Miss Kingsport and this year I’m competing as Miss Carter County. That’s a little side thing that I like to do!”
While she always knew that she wanted to do something with the medical field, it was the chemistry aspect of medication that initially sparked Madison’s interest in pharmacy. “While I always knew that I wanted to do something in medicine, I wasn’t sure exactly which direction I wanted to go. I became aware of medications and the way that they can affect the body; medications can have positive and negative effects, and responses will change from person to person. So, it was the chemistry that really got me interested in pharmaceuticals as a profession.”
Madison says her grandfather is her biggest supporter and source of encouragement. “He’s always supported me in every decision that I make,” Madison says. Outside of family, Madison says that Dr. Wheeler Conover, her chemistry professor at Southeast Kentucky Community Technical College and the school’s provost, has been her biggest mentor. “I had a lot of roles at Southeast, for example, I sat on the board of directors as a student representative. Throughout all of that, Dr. Conover always pushed me to be the best student I could be. He helped me with a lot of projects throughout undergrad, and he let me help him with projects as well. He’s definitely had the biggest impact on my career.”
Throughout pharmacy school, Madison has participated in drug take back events, flu shot clinics, as well as Remote Area Medical (RAM) clinics. RAM clinics are designed to provide no-cost healthcare to underserved and uninsured populations. Madison says that these clinics were particularly impactful to her. At RAM clinics, healthcare professionals from different disciplines join forces to care for these in-need populations at no cost to them.
During these clinics Madison led Naloxone training for opioid overdoses and triaged patients. “These patients don’t have charts, so we went over medications lists to see what they’re taking and how they’re taking it. We try to get as much information as possible, so that when they see the doctors, they have an idea of where they are. I realized through those clinics that I made the right choice by pursuing my pharmacy degree. There are so many people in our area who are in need, and so many opportunities to give back to those people.”
That’s why Madison hopes to return to Harlan after education and training. “I haven’t decided if I’m going to go the residency track yet, but if I do, I’d like to specialize in pediatric oncology. If I don’t go the residency track, I’d like to stay with a community pharmacy. I grew up in a medically underserved area, so I feel really strongly about working with that patient population. With my experience and my values, I think that’s how I can make the biggest impact.”