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a part of Des Moines University’s Rural Iowa Provider Education program

Des Moines University is proactively addressing critical shortages of health care providers and practitioners in Iowa’s rural communities through the creation of the Rural Medicine Educational Pathway (RMEP).

The RMEP program provides specialized education, training and tools to better prepare students for service in rural, underserved areas of Iowa. This program is focused toward Des Moines University’s students and the primary care physician shortage, but has been expanded to provide opportunities for additional disciplines and academic institutions.

If you are inclined to practice medicine in rural Iowa after residency, this program is for you.

Rural Medicine Educational Pathway

Rural Iowa has a critical shortage of physicians in primary care and other specialties. You can be part of the solution, and we can help you get there.

While many studies rank Iowa near the top when comparing the quality of healthcare, Iowa’s rural communities need new physicians to treat the acute and chronic medical conditions of the rural population. Even though the practice of medicine in rural America is very rewarding, today’s medical student graduates are moving away from primary care specialties, and even more so from medical practice in rural communities. Although DMU continues to educate medical students interested in rural primary care medicine, obstacles such as the medical education debt load, professional isolation and lifestyle often discourage students from pursuing a career in rural medicine. Des Moines University is addressing these issues through expanded relationships with rural physicians, hospitals and clinics to demonstrate the rewarding experience of rural medicine.

Scholarship and service

Tuition debt load is one of the barriers for students choosing a rural medical practice, so DMU has made an on-going commitment to annually provide the equivalent of one (1) full tuition scholarship to DPM students enrolled in the Rural Medicine Educational Pathway.

To be eligible for the scholarship, you will commit:

  • To the completion of all Rural Medicine Educational Pathway curriculum requirements
  • To maintain part of a podiatric medical practice in an Iowa community with a population of 20,000 or less which has been approved by the CPMS Dean, and to provide podiatric medical care services for a period of up to four years, or one year for each year of full-tuition scholarship equivalents received.  Emphasis will be placed on locations within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Primary Care Health Profession Shortage Areas, Medically Underserved Areas and the Governor’s Medical Underserved Populations Areas.

Here’s how the program works:


As a Des Moines University podiatric medical student, the Rural Medicine Educational Pathway offers you an innovative educational curriculum to develop and support your interest in rural medicine. In addition to the standard DMU podiatric medical school curriculum, the Rural Medicine Educational Pathway curriculum includes five 8-hour sessions held on Saturdays during years 1 & 2 of medical school. Sessions include both didactic and hands-on opportunities working alongside other health care students in an interprofessional enviornment. Examples of topics covered during these sessions include:

  • Professionalism in the rural health care practice
  • Agricultural emergencies
  • Building a rural practice
  • Telemedicine and teleradiology
  • Managing high school athletics from the sidelines
  • End of life care – how it differs in rural America
  • Other topics pertinent to rural medicine


As a Rural Medicine Educational Pathway student, you will be required to:

  • Maintain enrollment in the College of Podiatric Medicine & Surgery with passing grades in all courses and remain in good academic standing at all times
  • Become active in at least one DMU student club or organization on campus
  • Complete the Rural Medicine Educational Pathway curriculum
  • Participate in selected rural clinical rotations in Iowa rural communities during year four
  • Attend the Saturday sessions and meetings (described above)

How to apply

Any student, upon acceptance into the DMU College of Podiatric Medicine & Surgery, is eligible to apply to the Rural Medicine Educational Pathway program. The equivalent of one (1) full tuition scholarship will be awarded annually and will be renewable for up to four years.

The application will be made available to you following acceptance. Applications will be reviewed as they are submitted and decisions provided within 4-6 weeks. If you are awarded a Rural Medicine Educational Pathway scholarship, you must execute the Des Moines University Rural Medicine Educational Pathway scholarship agreement.

Want more information?

CPMS Admission
800-240-2767 ext. 1538