ROME Rural Scholars Program

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The Rural Scholars Program is an innovative four year medical school curriculum designed to better prepare the graduate for rural practice. This curriculum consists of academic activities and clinical experiences throughout all four years of pre-doctoral medical education. This curriculum is completed in addition to the courses in the regular medical school curriculum. The following is a brief overview of this program. br>

The Rural Medicine courses are completed in addition to the regular medical school curriculum  during semesters 1-4 of years one and two. They are designed to introduce the student to issues  of public health, rural health policy, telemedicine, pathophysiology, and specific clinical problems and procedures relevant to rural medicine that present unique diagnostic and management issues. Each session correlates with the study of a specific systems course. Each course is comprised of a variety of activities that may include classroom learning sessions, rural clinical correlations, rural topic presentations, skills lab, and clinical experiences. Emphasis is placed on special patient populations found in the rural communities, cancer detection and prevention, and rural environmental health risks.  Below are examples of topics and experiences offered in the rural scholars program.


  • Rural America and Community Health in Texas
  • Understanding Sterile Technique and Universal Precautions
  • Cultural Competency in the Practice of Rural Medicine
  • Introduction to Compassionate Interviewing
  • Skin Disorders Common to the Rural Environment
  • Professionalism-Rural Competencies
  • Emergency Medical System in a Rural Community
  • Fundamentals of Public Health
  • Principles and Practice of Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Introduction of Evidence-Based Medicine Databases
  • What Do We Know About Cancer in Our Rural Communities
  • Neurotoxic Injuries
  • Smoking Cessation for Rural Patients
  • Lung Cancer in the rural patient
  • Colorectal Cancer in the Rural Patient
  • Cervical Cancer in the Rural Patient
  • Procedural Competency:
  • Joint Injection, Suturing, EKG, Venipuncture, IV, Injections, Suturing, Gynecological Exam, Male Catherization, and Cardiac Auscultation
  • Rural Hospital Emergency Department Observation (Clinical Activity)
  • Occupational Medicine in Rural Texas-Rural Community Field Trip


  • Advanced skills in medical interviewing and physical exam
  • Understanding the needs of Special Patient Populations in Rural Texas
  • Concepts in clinical nutrition
  • Rural Lifestyle/Practice Visit (Clinical Activity)
  • Rural Health Policy
  • Roles of the Rural Physician in the community
  • Mental Health Service in Rural Texas
  • Procedural Competency:
  • Central Line Placement, Chest Tube insertion, Intubation, Tracheotomy, Spirometry, Thoracentesis, Nasogastric Tube Placement, Advanced cardiac auscultation, Colposcopy, Wet Mount, Lumbar Puncture, Joint Injections, Suturing, and Telemedicine Consults

Evaluation Student’s knowledge and level of competency acquired from each course will be assessed through assignments, quizzes, written exams, Objective Structured Clinical Examination(OSCE), and procedural competency.

FAMILY MEDICINE CONTINUITY EXPERIENCE The Family Medicine Continuity Experience allows the Rural Scholars to experience the benefits of continuity and interaction with a rural family medicine practice and community over time. Specific activities designed to introduce the student to community life, health systems, and rural cultures are built in to this experience. Students are expected tobecome involved in the community during the time he/she is there. Each student is matched with a rural adjunct faculty member during the first year of medical school with whom he/she will complete the following activities throughout the four years of medical school:

1. Rural Practice & Lifestyle Practicum
4 days
Summer after Year 1
2. Rural Pre-Clinical Preceptorship
4 days
Year 2
3. Family Medicine Clerkship/Integrated OMM
12 weeks
Year 3
4. Rural Primary Care Partnership/Geriatrics
4 weeks
Year 4

1. Rural Practice & Lifestyle Practicum:

A four-day experience that introduces the student to a family practice and the lifestyle of a physician in a rural community.

2. Rural Pre-Clinical Preceptorship:

A four-day clinical experience that enhances the student’s understanding of the role of comprehensive, continuing family-oriented primary medical care in a rural setting.

3. Rural Family Medicine/OMM Clerkship:

A required twelve (12) week Year 3 core clerkship in Family Medicine and OMM that focuses on cognitive and behavioral skill building as well as procedural competency. This clerkship includes an intensive didactic and hands- on review of OMM. Students will incorporate OMT into the management of patients they see under supervision at their rural continuity site. All required elements of the 1 month OMM core Clerkship are integrated over the entire 12 weeks.

4.Geriatric Core Clerkship:

A required eight (4) week clinical rotation completed during the fourth year. The goal is to provide a capstone educational experience in rural medicine during which time the student will refine the skills necessary for the foundation for competent, compassionate care of the rural patient of all ages.

Each student will complete a community project related to their assigned “family medicine continuity” community. The purpose of the community project is to provide the student experience in “community responsiveness” and leadership through the identification and development of a plan (course of action) to address a relevant health concern in the community. This project will be initiated during Year 2 and due for completion and academic credit in Year 4. YEAR 3 CORE CLINICAL CLERKSHIPS    (48 Weeks)

The Year 3 core clinical clerkships for the Rural Scholars Program are designed to provide focused training which will prepare the student for the practice of medicine in a rural setting. Student will complete 100% of their clinical clerkships outside the DFW Metroplex at rural-based training sites.

NOTE: The distribution and sequence of Year 3 and 4 clerkships are subject to change.


Family Medicine/ Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine: Rural Family Continuity Site

12 weeks
Internal Medicine (Ambulatory and Hospital)
8 weeks
General Surgery
8 weeks
Pediatrics (Ambulatory and Hospital)**
6 weeks
6 weeks
4 weeks
Year 3 Elective
4 weeks

** Global International students may elect to do Pediatrics and Obstetrics/Gynecology in Malawi. 


The final year of the Rural Scholars Program consists of required and elective clinical rotations that will provide the student with experiences especially relevant to the practice of medicine in a rural setting. Rotation sites will include tertiary urban centers and ruralclinical sites to facilitate the best training possible.

YEAR 4     (40 weeks)

Rural Family Medicine Continuity Site

4 weeks
Emergency Medicine
4 weeks

Electives- Public Health, Sports Medicine
International (Tropical) Medicine

4 weeks

This page was last modified on June 7, 2018