Since I want to do rural medicine, mostly in the “Third World” and “Fourth World” (condescending terms, unfortunately), I wonder which medical schools have programs that expose medical students on their clinicals or rotations. I already have extensive rural international medical work, but it is mostly in Mexico, and I wonder if there are other programs outside of Mexico. I do speak Spanish enough to get by, and I am working toward fluency.
Different medical schools define “rural” differently. What you are describing is more what medical schools would describe as international medicine. Many schools will say that students have the opportunity to go on international rotations. However, be mindful of how detailed these descriptions and programs are as some just say it and others mean it through meaningful actions and a well-thought out and practical program. Many times these programs are run through the School of Public Health associated with the medical school.
That said there are LOTS of organizations that will have medical students come shadow and “experience” (meaning learn by watching) international medicine for a fee. Those fees range from 1500-2500+ for 4 weeks (plus airfare).
Rural to medical schools means working in sparsely populated areas. My “rural” experience at the University of Maryland was in a town of 30,000. In Iowa, it means going to a town of a few hundred people. Many private medical schools do not have any type of experience like this.
Hope this helps.
VCU/ MCV has a inner city/ rural medicine track. You have a choice to declare your interest in this track as a 1st year student. During 1st two years it doesn’t really involve lots of commitment - I think a retreat weekend once a year and a meeting here and there. During the 3rd year however, they make sure that you’ll get plenty of exposure to either rural or inner city medicine (depending on your interest). They send students to rural hospitals for surgery, rural doctors for family medicine and internal medicine. Students can also do their family medicine rotation in a rural clinic in Honduras - with the school covering ALL the costs. Additionally you can get involved in HOMBRE project (medical students’ mission to Honduras) during the summer between M1 and M2. Other missions at school go to Ecuador. Also there is a 4th year elective in Honduras. The school only helps partially with the cost of these. There is also a 4th year elective in Italy, and Italian is not a prerequisite (although it’s helpful).
If you know any people in other medical schools, you should do some research. I’m sure many schools offer some sort of international experience.
Might a program like this be along the lines of what you’re looking for?
I don’t know a concise answer, but this is info I was looking for as well, so I’ll share what I found.
I was looking in a particular geographic area - east of the Missisippi, basically.
Among allopathic schools - Eastern Virginia Medical School has SOME rural focus, in that your early clinical experience is working with a family practice doctor, usually in a rural Virginia community (although it could be in Va. Beach where the school is). Univ. of Kentucky has a Rural Physician Leadership Program - a special track for 10-12 students out of each incoming class. You apply separately for that, and do a lot of your work at a different campus (which is rural, unlike the main campus which is downtown. THere is special content on community health assessment and planning and quite a bit of interdisciplinary exposure - check out their web site. Albert Einstein School of Medicine of Yeshiva University has a global health emphasis available (as does Tulane and many others).
Among DO schools, VCOM (Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine) has a year-round clinic in El Salvador that 3rd and 4th year students can do the majority of their rotations at one of the 2 years. They also have a medical spanish course as part of their curriculum to prepare the students for going there - you WOULD be fluent after 8 months there. You can call their admissions office for more info.
WVSOM has an emphasis on rural primary care, and clinicals start 3rd year with rural family medicine. Many rotation opportunities in rural community hospitals as well as some regional medical centers so you get to do a lot, and to see a lot. They have international rotations available …doesn’t sound like as many slots as VCOM. Bear in mind that you can do a rotation or several with another school if approved to do so.
PCOM is not specifically rural, but the doc I shadowed graduated from there, and he said he was able to select all rural rotations, as the school is in Pennsylvania and there are lots of sites to pick from.
Pikesville School of Osteopathic Medicine IS specifically rural focused, as is, to some degree, Lincoln College-Debusk School of OSteopathic MEdicine in TN. Check out their web sites. Lincoln College=Debusk stood out for me when I interviewed because EVERY student I spoke with said “I LOVE it!” - very enthusiastic bunch. The faculty impressed me as well, with a true emphasis on collaborative learning (study groups are required).
Hope that gives you a start.
US News and World Reports ranks schools in regards to their strength in Rural Medicine so you could get the top 10 list there.
UNECOM actually has you rotate with a country doctor in Northern Maine for a month where you will live there.
Depending on the school’s elective schedule you can take your electives where you want in what ever type of medicine you want. So, to answer your question, just about any school will do.
Thanks for this information. Besides rural health in Mexico and some parts of California, my other area of great experience is “inner city” health care. I’d love to do both, although I don’t know how I could live in both the country and the city.
Thanks. I’ll check out USNews.
As far as fluency, my experience is that most medical Spanish courses are not that helpful, since there is much that patients talk about that doesn’t fall into medical terminology. But I am at the point in my Spanish where the best way to improve fluency is to talk and listen, rather than take another course.
I know what you mean. I can do a prenatal visit in Spanish…as long as they don’t tell me anything about their family or their life! That’s really inadequate. Mainly I can ask the “quantos veces” questions and the “Tiene?” type questions and do some of the teaching but very limited. I never had a formal spanish class, and what I need is the basic everyday vocabulary and grammer.
- tec Said:
If your focus is specifically international, there is/was a joint program by Columbia University and Ben-Gurion University in Israel. When it mostly run/affiliated with Columbia, it was an excellent program, but this goes back 4 or 5 years. Now it appears to be run primarily from the Israeli School.
If your interested in Domestic Rural medicine, a speaker at one of our 2006 (I think)OldPreMeds conference was Robert C. Bowman who is the director of http://www.ruralmedicaleducation.org/
He is now at an Arizona Medical School and his email is on his website. Feel free to drop him a note saying OldPreMeds referred you.
- tec Said:
Rural to medical schools means working in sparsely populated areas. My "rural" experience at the University of Maryland was in a town of 30,000. In Iowa, it means going to a town of a few hundred people. Many private medical schools do not have any type of experience like this.
The village in Mexico in which I currently volunteer has about 6,000 people, although I've volunteered in other towns that have even fewer people (500 - 4500). It is also located in the state of Sinaloa, which, unfortunately, is home to a notorious Sinaloa drug cartel. Consequently, it is not always easy to get other volunteers to come along; they are too worried about the violence. I've been doing this for nearly a decade, however, neither I nor any one else has had any run-ins with los narcotraficantes. We fly our own planes to get there, since there is no airport nearby.
I also help run an "inner city" clinic in Tijuana, to which I drive from the Los Angeles area.
Both of these clinics are free clinics and offer everything from general medicine to surgery, although services vary depending on who we can get down there.