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Program helps students examine medical careers

MSU Extension Service

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- High school juniors considering medical careers in Mississippi may apply by March 18 for an intense and revealing summer program at Mississippi State University.

The five-week Rural Medical Scholars summer program at MSU, which will take place from May 31 through July 6, aims to identify the state’s future primary-care doctors and help them become members of the medical school class of 2024.

“With the lowest number of physicians per capita in the nation, Mississippians have limited access to care, which contributes to many of the negative health issues plaguing our state,” said Bonnie Carew, rural health program leader for the MSU Extension Service. “The scholars program is helping to address that need for physicians in Mississippi.”

Carew said with a declining number of rural physicians, the concern for adequate health care increases as well. A goal of the program is to develop a pipeline of future medical providers.

“The program is clearly meeting the need it was designed to accomplish -- increasing the availability of primary-care physicians and health-care services throughout rural Mississippi,” she said. “Since the start of the program in 1998, 317 students have participated in the RMS program, with most planning health-related careers. Thirty-five of our graduates have gone on to medical school, and 24 of those are practicing physicians today.”

The program is primarily funded by the MSU Extension Service with additional assistance from the Mississippi Office of Rural Health. Students between their junior and senior years with ACT composite scores of at least 24 will take two pre-med courses on the Starkville campus -- biology and sociology -- and observe doctors at practice.

Participants will receive tuition, housing and textbooks during the program. A $60 registration fee is required after acceptance, and the scholars will be responsible for their food expenses.

Released: January 15, 2015
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