The class of Rural Health Scholars

UA Programs Prepare Rural Alabama Students for Health Careers

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — High school students from rural Alabama communities are participating in programs this summer at The University of Alabama where they are learning about the need rural communities have for more doctors and other health care professionals.

Through the Minority Rural Health Scholars Program and the Rural Health Scholars Program, both part of the UA College of Community Health Sciences, 34 students are spending five weeks on the UA campus taking college courses for credit, shadowing physicians and learning how to prepare to enter health professions education and training.

“Both rural programs were designed to teach and expose students from rural Alabama about primary care,” said Cynthia Moore, assistant director of the CCHS Rural Scholars Programs. “It is our hope that they will become a health care professional and return to rural Alabama.”

The goal of the programs is to encourage rural Alabama high school students to consider careers in health care. Funding for the programs comes from the Alabama Family Practice Rural Health Board and covers students’ course tuition, housing on campus and the cost of field trips. The program began May 31 and ends July 1. The two programs are part of the college’s nationally recognized Rural Health Leaders Pipeline.

The Minority Rural Health Scholars Program seeks to increase the number of minority students from rural Alabama who qualify for admission to medical school. The program is for high school graduates who, in addition to taking classes at UA, also are provided tutorials to enhance their knowledge and test-taking skills to achieve competitive scores on the Medical College Admissions Test, or MCAT. They also shadow physicians and other health care professionals. Ten students from nine Alabama counties were selected to participate this summer in the Minority Rural Health Scholars Program.

The Rural Health Scholars Program aims to provide opportunities for rising high school seniors from rural communities in Alabama to pursue careers in medicine and other health care professions. Students take college courses, participate in seminars with practicing health care professionals and visit health care facilities. Twenty-four students from 16 Alabama counties were chosen to take part in the Rural Health Scholars Program this summer.

The mission of the college is to improve and promote the health of individuals and communities in rural Alabama and the southeast region through leadership in medical and health-related education, primary care and population health; the provision of high-quality accessible health care services; and research and scholarship. One way the college achieves its mission is by educating and training future physicians and health care professionals for practice in rural communities, where they are needed most.

A list of the Minority Rural Health Scholars and Rural Health Scholars is below.

Minority Rural Health Scholars:

  • Aaron Barrett, Chambers County.
  • Erica Doss, Covington County.
  • Kalin Lewis, Marengo County.
  • Ra’Shelle Irvin, Marengo County.
  • Kaisa Nicholson, Wilcox County.
  • Shemai’ya Peak, Elmore County.
  • Alijyanah Sanders, Coffee County.
  • Kayla Shaw, Baldwin County.
  • Xiomara Winston, Marion County.
  • Daviyonna Young, Limestone County.

Rural Health Scholars:

  • Deniah Brown, Calhoun County.
  • Coulter Bumgarner, Marengo County.
  • Matalyn Chappell, Calhoun County.
  • Isabelle Croeze, Blount County.
  • Mackenzie Daniel, Crenshaw County.
  • Hannah Fulmer, Calhoun County.
  • Fatima Garcia, Etowah County.
  • Steven Griffin, St. Clair County.
  • Alexander Harbin, Tuscaloosa County.
  • Cheryl Harden, Macon County.
  • Malyk Hayden, Wilcox County.
  • Cole Heatherly, Colbert County.
  • Allen Hollingsworth Jr., Fayette County.
  • Zavion Jones, Talladega County.
  • Jakelvin Jones, Talladega County.
  • Chaquona Jones, Wilcox County.
  • Lashonna Loftin, Houston County.
  • Alexandria Lopez, Mobile County.
  • Charlie McVay, Crenshaw County.
  • Riley Pierce, St. Clair County.
  • Kaitlin Ross, Mobile County.
  • Nadia Saxton, Calhoun County.
  • Katie Spurgeon, Lauderdale County.
  • Angel Thomas, Chilton County.


Leslie Zganjar, UA College of Community Health Sciences,, 205-348-3079