This 30 hour degree program is designed to provide some of the tools necessary for future rural Alabama physicians and other rural health care providers to become community health leaders.  It will help prepare them to lead in the development and maintenance of community health center practices and other health care practices.

  • Rural Medical Scholars (RMS) established in 1996 by The University of Alabama School of Medicine (UASOM) to recruit students who grew up in rural Alabama who desire to practice primary care medicine in rural Alabama. RMS apply to UASOM, go through a special interview/selection process and enter a RMS 5-year track of study leading to the MD degree. For the first year, RMS spend a year on the Tuscaloosa campus in the MS in Rural Community Health program with a set of courses related to rural community health.  Following this year, RMS then complete two years of pre-clinical study at UASOM in Birmingham. RMS then return to Tuscaloosa for two years of clinical medicine training in the College of Community Health Sciences (CCHS) (UASOM – Tuscaloosa Campus).  After completing the MD degree, RMS enter residency training in the specialty of their choice.
  • Rural Community Health Scholars (RCHS), students who exhibit a desire to be rural health care providers (not necessarily physicians), but are not eligible for the RMS program.  Most of these students use the Master of Science degree as a bridge to a health professional school (medical, osteopathic, physician assistant, nursing, physical therapy, public health, doctor of philosophy, etc.) by demonstrating their ability to handle graduate-level studies and improving admission test scores. 

This program directly contributes to The University of Alabama’s mission “To advance the … social condition of the people of the State …”  by helping prepare health professionals for the underserved rural areas of Alabama.