Rural Health Scholars 

Check our our newest RHS blog: "One Month in Paradise: My Experience Working for Outer Cape Health Services in Wellfleet, MA by Margaret Oliverio, UMASS Class of 2016


To identify and nurture the interest of medical and nursing students who would like to pursue a career in rural health.

To help participating students acquire the skills and develop the attitudes necessary to become effective clinicians for rural and small town communities.

To expose students to the important linkages between clinical practice and public health in developing healthy rural communities.

To foster relationships among student Scholars and introduce them to others in the medical, public health, and governmental sectors who are working to meet the needs of rural communities.

Rural Health Scholar Experiences

Preclinical Years (medical school)

  • Longitudinal Preceptorship Program (LLP)*
  • Population Health Clerkship*
  • Monthly luncheon seminars
  • Summer service-learning or research experiences

Clinical Years (medical school)

  • Family Medicine Clerkship* in rural/small towns
  • Electives
  • Senior Scholars Projects


Financial support enables Scholars to attend the annual fall New England Rural Health Conference. Attendance at other conferences is based on applicability and appropriateness.  Click here for one student's experience attending a Rural Health Association meeting.

*All medical students participate in these educational experiences; Rural Health Scholars have preference in rural sites.

Supported in part by the Mass AHEC Network.

Reasons to Become a Rural Health Scholar

  • You just need to be interested in rural medicine—no commitment to plan to pursue rural medicine
  • Our 2 directors are rock stars—Suzanne and Steve are committed to advocating on our behalf
  • We have hands-on skills sessions starting in first year—such as x-ray reading, casting, suturing, etc.
  • Monthly speaker series that is flexible and open to your input
  • We get top priority for population health clerkship rural sites
  • We get top priority for rural sites for 3rd and 4th year rotations—like the Berkshires
  • Get to meet other awesome and down-to-earth medical and nursing students from different years—we had a yummy potluck last year
  • Faculty assistance setting up first year summer opportunities
  • Low time commitment — get as involved as you would like!
  • Oodles of fun! -  Kathryn, UMMS '16  

MA and New England Rural Map



Check out our rural health blog by Nick Hajj, UMMS Class of 2015:
"My Rural Rotation in Millinocket, Maine" 

"Well, overall this elective was absolutely one of the best!!! It really gave me great exposure to rural medicine and the culture of another state, Maine. Dr. Cornelio was an amazing teacher! He let me see patients independently and write notes, present etc. I also got some exposure to occupational medicine with Dr. Blum. In fact, this is something I had never heard about and I may look into it in my future career. It solidifies my decision to go into family medicine for sure! 
- Dinah Gorelik, UMMS Class of 2017

"The whole program was influential. I started in the acute care track. I was interested in hospital based practice. RHS opened my options and possibilities, and expanded my imagination for what is possible so I switched over to the family NP track. I hope to work in a community health center with an underserved population."
– Toy Lim, RN, FNP, GSN Class of 2012

"RHS provided me the opportunity to immerse myself in the strengths, challenges and workings of a rural healthcare system. RHS also provides one of the few venues for nursing and medical students to learn, grow and develop working relationships as healthcare providers."
- Eric Van Bean, GSN 2011

For additional information, please contact:

Stephen Martin, MD
(978) 355-6321

Suzanne Cashman, ScD
(774) 442-2930

Janet Fraser Hale, PhD, RN, CS, FNP

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