UA’s Rural Health, Medical Scholars Programs Accepting Applications

TUSCALOOSA, Ala.  — The University of Alabama’s Rural Health and Medical Scholars Programs are now accepting applications for its 2016 classes.

Alabama desperately needs primary care doctors and many other health care professionals in rural areas, according to health care experts. Since rural students are more likely to choose to live and work in rural areas, the Rural Health Leaders Pipeline and other health initiatives were developed at UA’s College of Community Health Sciences as part of a strategy to help rural students prepare for medical and health careers.

Each year approximately 25 Rural Health Scholars, 10 Minority Rural Health Scholars and up to 12 Rural Medical Scholars are added to the pipeline, which includes students from every Alabama county. Students growing up in any rural area of Alabama are eligible to apply.

Programs in the pipeline include:

High school students:  The Rural Health Scholars Program is a five-week summer program for 11th graders to encourage rural students to explore careers in medicine and health professions and let them experience college first-hand. Since 1993, 601 Rural Health Scholars from all 67 counties have attended. Students live in college dormitories and take two college classes (in English and in chemistry) for credit. They also go on field trips to learn more about rural health needs and attend special lectures related to the health professions. Applications are available online and from school counselors at rural schools. They are due March 1. For more information, contact: Cynthia Moore, program director,

Minority high school graduates: The Minority Rural Health Scholars Program was initiated in 2001 in an effort to increase the number of minority students from rural Alabama who qualify for admission to medical school, especially through admission to UA’s Rural Medical Scholars Program (see below). High school graduates attend in the summer after graduation, preparing for college life and health careers. Minority Health Scholars take college courses while learning to study, manage their time and improve test-taking skills. Of 156 Minority Rural Health Scholars who have entered the program from 36 counties, to date 13 have entered medical school, two have entered dentistry, two have entered pharmacy, nine have entered nursing and one is training as a physician assistant. Applications are online or available from counselors in rural schools. For more information, contact: Cynthia Moore, program director,

Premed college and graduate students: Ten college seniors and graduate students are accepted each year into the Rural Medical Scholars Program. As part of RMSP, they receive early admission to the UA School of Medicine in Birmingham. After a year at The University of Alabama studying rural community health and primary care needs, interacting with rural preceptors and making farm field trips, they enter medical school the following summer. The first classes of Rural Medical Scholars have now finished training, and more than 50 have established practices in rural areas of the state. Rural Medical Scholars now comprise a significant portion of every class in medical school, are successful academically, earn recognition from peers and faculty and have been chosen for leadership roles by their classmates every year. Applications for the Rural Medical Scholars Program must be submitted online ( and are due March 20. More information is available at, or contact Susan Guin, associate director of the Rural Medical Scholars Program,  or 205/348-5892.


Kim Eaton, UA media relations, 205/348-8325