Each year, as part of the Rural Health Professions Program, students in medicine, pharmacy, nursing, public health and other health care fields at the three schools "spend at least four weeks following rural health professionals and receive additional seminars and mentorship, culminating in a 24-week clinical experience for pharmacy and medical students toward the end of their studies," Leingang writes. "After completing the program, participants can receive a notion of 'Distinction Track in Rural Health' on their transcripts." Last year 870 students participated in the program.
Dr. Jonathan Cartsonis, who heads the University of Arizona program, in which 152 students participated last year, "said the goal is getting more health professionals to work in rural parts of the state," Leingang writes. Cartsonis told her, “We believe once they have a taste of it, they’ll be excited to practice in a rural area. When you’re practicing in a rural setting, you feel like you’re using all the skills you learned in medical school; they’re required on a daily basis.”
Sandy Haryasz, CEO of Page Hospital in northern Arizona, "said the challenges in rural practices often come down to lifestyle," Leingang writes. Haryasz told her, “It gives them an opportunity to see if small-town living is what they need or want—to see if they want to come back to a rural area. It gives them a good flavor of the differences between rural and metropolitan.” (Read more)