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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 and its Area Health Education Center program are 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 four (4) full-tuition scholarships to 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 enter a family medicine, general pediatrics, general internal medicine, general surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, or psychiatry residency upon graduation from DMU. It is preferable, but not required, that the residency program be in the state of Iowa
  • To maintain a full-time medical practice in an Iowa community with a population of 20,000 or less which has been approved by the COM Dean at DMU, and to provide primary medical care services which are defined as either family medicine, general pediatrics, general internal medicine, general surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, or psychiatry 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:

Curriculum

As a Des Moines University osteopathic medical student, the Rural Medicine Educational Pathway offers you an innovative educational curriculum to develop and support your interest in rural primary care medicine. In addition to the standard DMU osteopathic medical school curriculum, the Rural Medicine Educational Pathway curriculum includes:

  • Five eight-hour sessions held on Saturdays during each of the first two years of medical school.  Sessions include both didactic and hands-on opportunities working alongside other health care students in an interprofessional environment. Examples of topics covered during these sessions include:
    • Professionalism in rural healthcare practice
    • Agricultural emergencies
    • Building a rural practice incorporating the use of osteopathic manipulation
    • Telemedicine and teleradiology
    • Managing high school athletics from the sidelines
    • End of life care – Does it differ in rural America?
    • Other topics pertinent to rural medicine
  • A four-week primary care preceptorship in rural Iowa coupled with a reflective writing project in the summer between the first and second year of medical school.
  • At least twenty-five percent (25%) of the third and fourth year clinical rotations scheduled and completed in Iowa rural communities
  • Mentorship by Iowa physicians currently practicing rural medicine

Requirements

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

  • Maintain enrollment in the College of Osteopathic Medicine with passing grades in all courses and remain in good academic standing at all times
  • Become active in at least one primary care student club or organization on campus
  • Complete the Rural Medicine Educational Pathway curriculum
    • Attend the Saturday educational sessions (described above)
    • Complete a four-week primary care preceptorship in rural Iowa coupled with a reflective writing project in the summer between the first and second year of medical school
    • Schedule and complete at least forty percent (40%) of your third and fourth year clinical rotations in Iowa rural communities

How to apply

Any student, upon acceptance into the DMU College of Osteopathic Medicine, is eligible to apply to the Rural Medicine Educational Pathway program. A maximum of thirty (30) students from all programs, both scholarship and elective students, will be enrolled in the program. The equivalent of four (4) full tuition scholarships will be awarded annually and will be renewable for up to four years.

The application will be made available to you upon acceptance. Applications will be reviewed as they are submitted and decisions provided within four to six 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?

COM Admission
515-271-1499
800-240-2767 ext. 1499
Doadmit@dmu.edu