The overall goal of the Rural Scholars Program is to immerse medical students in the rural healthcare community and culture, in order to develop a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing them if they choose this pathway. As a Rural Scholar, students participate in specialized academic activities and clinical experiences that continue throughout all four years of their pre-doctoral medical education. Students accepted into the Rural Scholars Program take approximately 35 hours in addition to the regular curriculum for each of their 3 courses, which occur during their first and second years of medical school. These courses emphasize the acquisition of knowledge and skills for a career in rural medicine with special emphasis on skills to expand the resilience needed for rural practice.
In addition, Rural Scholar students have experiences with ROME faculty for early clinical encounters in an urban clinic that cares for underserved patients in Fort Worth. In Year 3, Rural Scholar students complete all of their core clinical rotations in rural communities to provide focused clinical training in a rural setting. During Year 3, students also complete a community health quality improvement project where they address a relevant health concern in their assigned community. Another notable experience includes the Agromedicine Workshop, which is an annual program hosted by the University of Texas-Tyler and the University of Iowa designed to provide training in the basics of diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of occupational and environmental injuries and illnesses within rural and agricultural communities.
ROME students also have opportunities to do elective rotations with ROME faculty in several international locations as well as mission trips to underserved communities in West Texas to further develop their skills and comfort in low resource settings.
Additional information about the Rural Scholars Program can be found at: https://www.unthsc.edu/texas-college-of-osteopathic-medicine/office-of-rural-medical-education/rome-rural-scholars-program/.