Mar 5, 2020
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  1. Pre-Medical
I've been reading a lot fo articles lately that there is a growing need for rural doctors in America. I would really like to help out with this but I have no idea where to start. Can somebody help me?
 
Feb 19, 2018
94
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  1. Medical Student
Are you from a rural community? Ever lived in one? Ever worked in one? I would do some experimenting with rural life and see if you could really do it. In my experience either you love it or you hate it and you need to know which type of person you are.

Yes, medical school would be a good start. Were you already planning on going to medical school or is this a new idea for you?
 
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Some medical schools are designed for future rural practitioners.

Focus on school for now and work on things you're passionate about.
 
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Mar 5, 2020
9
1
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
Some medical schools are designed for future rural practitioners.

Focus on school for now and work on things you're passionate about.
Some medical schools are designed for future rural practitioners.

Focus on school for now and work on things you're passionate about.
There are?! Do they offer a program or is it more of a speciality that you choose when going to residency??
 
Mar 5, 2020
9
1
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
Are you from a rural community? Ever lived in one? Ever worked in one? I would do some experimenting with rural life and see if you could really do it. In my experience either you love it or you hate it and you need to know which type of person you are.

Yes, medical school would be a good start. Were you already planning on going to medical school or is this a new idea for you?
Med School is a fairly new idea for me but the rural work is not. I was already planning on becoming a rural math teacher.
 
Mar 5, 2020
9
1
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
Medical school would probably be a good first step.
You could also shadow a rural doc to see what its like.
Any idea where I might be able to look for special programs and scholarships for Med school? Maybe some assistance for those wanting to become rural doctors?
 
Aug 10, 2017
2,481
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Any idea where I might be able to look for special programs and scholarships for Med school? Maybe some assistance for those wanting to become rural doctors?

I can only speak from my regional experience. I am from the rural west and there are a few programs I’ve encountered out here. WWAMI (university of Washington) is probably the best out here if you are from Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, or Idaho. During 3rd and 4th year you can rotate throughout the entire 5 state region, much of it being rural. You are also required to have some training in Seattle so you will get a good mix of rural and urban training. It is very difficult to get into UWSOM if you are outside of this region though.

RVU is a DO school in Denver that has a rural track that allows some additional training and rotations at rural locations. Many of the students speak very highly of it.

I am not familiar with rural programs further East, but I know they exist.
 
Last edited:
Jul 25, 2014
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  1. Resident [Any Field]
You can go to any medical school and go on to practice in a rural area - getting in is your first bridge to cross. Focus on that for now. Shadowing some rural doctors and working with rural populations to see the unique challenges they face are things you can do now to gain some knowledge and experience that will help you figure out what you want to do and look good on your resume. Of course, you also need to focus on getting good grades, doing well on the MCAT, and checking all the boxes you need to get into med school.

As others have mentioned, there are a decent number of schools out there that are either in rural areas or offer rural training opportunities during medical school. Not attending one of those schools would not in any way prevent you from practicing in a rural area after graduation, so you should still apply broadly. There are some programs out there such as the NHSC which offer scholarship money or loan repayment in exchange for you committing to practice in a rural or underserved area, BUT many of them have pretty significant restrictions on what specialty you can choose, where you can practice, etc. and take some degree of choice away from you in the early part of your career. Many rural employers offer loan repayment programs or large sign-on bonuses that will offer the same financial benefits with a little more freedom for you.

As you get further down the road, you'll want to think about your specialty. Most specialties are in high demand in rural areas. If you are very specialized you may have some difficulty getting the patient load you need to keep the doors open. But if you find you do want to be very specialized in your career, there are ways to make it work - I know a couple specialists in my hospital system that have their main office here in a mid-size city, but go out to a satellite clinic in some of the rural towns within driving distance a couple times a week and see patients there. We also have some anesthesiologists who drive 4-5 hours to critical access hospitals on the weekends and cover traumas/emergency surgeries so the local guys can get some time off. The specialties that will give you the best bang for your buck if you really want to contribute to improving healthcare in rural areas are probably the following: full scope family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics, OBGYN, psych, EM, or general surgery. Some of your more commonly referred-to specialties like cardiology, orthopedic surgery, etc. could probably support a practice pretty easily too.
 
Mar 5, 2020
9
1
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
I also would like to become a rural doc.
step 1. Graduate med school. Get rural exposure there if you can but you don’t necessarily need to go to a rural school. I got to a school in a large city but did my 3rd year clerkships in a far more rural area of the state.
step 2. Match residency. I actually am not planning on doing residency in a rural place. I felt like doing residency in an academic powerhouse might better prepare me for when I go Out on my own in a rural area of the country.
step 3. Watch your inbox and phone explode with job offers from rural areas with good pay.
step 4. Accept a job and become a rural physician
what do you plan on specializing on in residency? Have you applied for any scholarships that help with this sort of thing??
 
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