COSAM News Articles 2020 April Ashley Lane, Rural Medicine Doc

Ashley Lane, Rural Medicine Doc

Published: 04/14/2020

By: Melanie Vynalek

Dr. Ashley Lane, a 2009 graduate of Auburn’s College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM), practices rural medicine in her hometown of Lineville, Alabama.

After finishing her undergraduate years, Dr. Lane stayed on The Plains to complete Auburn’s year-long Rural Medicine Program. She then attended medical school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and completed her residency at Huntsville Regional Medical Campus, before returning to Lineville to serve her hometown community.

Dr. Lane works full-time with one other physician in a rural primary care clinic, covering outpatient and inpatient services, in conjunction with physicians at the local hospital.

“We manage our own patients during the week both at the clinic and in the hospital, and then once a month we take call and round at the hospital on all inpatients. We also cover our own patients at two separate nursing homes in the area. In clinic, we do casting, splinting, small dermatology procedures and read our own X-rays,” Dr. Lane said.

After dropping her children off at daycare, Dr. Lane begins each day with rounds at the hospital before moving on to clinic. Following her lunch hour and the completion of a few tasks, she returns to the hospital or visits one of the nursing homes in the area.

“Every day can vary even if it is following the same schedule, because in a rural clinic like this, you never know what kind of walk-in you are going to have. The unscheduled appointments can be unpredictable and exciting… everything from routine ailments to chain saw injuries,” she said.

Dr. Lane enjoys the ability to care for patients of all ages and backgrounds from the Lineville area. The most rewarding part is providing broad-spectrum care and to see the direct impact it has on patients in improving their lifestyles, she said.

In addition to her daily practice, Dr. Lane works with the UAB division of preventive medicine to help increase screenings of preventable cancers such as cervical, breast, and colon cancers in rural areas.

Currently, Dr. Lane shares how COVID-19 has made changes in her practice.

“We are complying with all CDC recommendations for COVID-19,” she said. “Using telehealth when able and seeing patients in clinic if needed or warranted. We are testing patients per CDC recommendations and giving advice to the community through our clinic’s Facebook page. We continue to encourage social distancing outside of your home until CDC recommendations change. We are all in this together.” 

Dr. Lane’s passion for serving others is rooted out of family. Both her father and grandfather practiced family medicine in Lineville, and as a teenager, Dr. Lane realized she wanted to this too. Fortunately, the resources Auburn provides helped her begin the pursuit of this passion.

“I remain very grateful to have been able to spend a year preparing for that transition at Auburn through the Rural Medical Program. It helped prepare me for the challenges of medical school and what to expect as a practicing physician. My mentors, including but not limited to, Dr. Franklin K. Bufford Jr, Dr. Tonya Bradley, and Dr. Lawrence Wit were instrumental in helping me and my classmates be prepared for the challenges ahead,” Dr. Lane said.

Dr. Lane encourages current COSAM students to stay disciplined and resilient – you can do anything you set your mind to, she said.

On top of the opportunities Auburn provided Dr. Lane, it also gave her a constant connection to people all over the state, country, and globe.

“In a world that can be so divisive, it is a wonderful common thread that students and faculty share for the rest of their lives,” she said.

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