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This high school student observes a family practice doctor at work during the 2016 Rural Medical Scholars summer program at Mississippi State University. Applications and program details for 2017 are available online at (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)

Program helps students pursue medical careers

MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi high school juniors considering medical careers in their home state have the opportunity to take part in an intense and revealing summer program at Mississippi State University.

The five-week Rural Medical Scholars summer program at MSU will seek to identify the state's future primary care doctors and help them become members of the medical school class of 2026. Applications for the May 28 through June 29 program must be submitted by March 20.

“Mississippi still has the lowest number of physicians per capita in the nation, which limits access to care and contributes to many of the negative health issues plaguing our state,” said Ann Sansing, community health coordinator for the MSU Extension Service. “The one constant in health care reform discussions is the need for more primary care physicians. The scholars program is helping to address that need in Mississippi.”

With a declining number of rural physicians, Sansing said, 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. “To date, 367 students have participated in the RMS program, with most planning health-related careers. Thirty-seven of our graduates went on to medical school, and 32 of those are in residency or practicing physicians today.”

The program is primarily funded by MSU Extension, with additional assistance from the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care at the Mississippi State Department of Health. Selected students between their junior and senior years who earned ACT composite scores of at least 24 will take two premedical courses on the Starkville campus -- biology and sociology -- and observe doctors at practice one afternoon each week.

The scholars will get a taste of college life, visit the University of Mississippi Medical Center, earn Junior Master Wellness Volunteer certification, participate in practical learning activities designed for aspiring physicians, and make new friends with similar interests and goals.

The selected scholars will receive tuition, housing and textbooks during the program. A $100 registration fee is required after acceptance, and the scholars will be responsible for their food expenses. Applications and program details are available online at



Released: January 27, 2017
Contacts: Ms. Ann Sansing
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Extension Instructor
Rural Medical Scholars Program Director/Community Health Coordinator

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Rural Medical Scholars Program Director/Community Health Coordinator