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New funding restarts medical scholars program
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi State University will resume its efforts this summer to encourage talented high school juniors to consider medical professions in Mississippi.
From 1998 through 2007, special funding allowed MSU to offer the intense, five-week Rural Medical Scholars summer program. New funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the University of Mississippi Medical Center will help MSU identify the state’s future primary-care doctors and help them become members of the medical school class of 2019.
“Mississippi has the lowest number of physicians per capita in the nation,” said Bonnie Carew, rural health program leader for MSU’s Extension Service. “Clearly, this limits access to care for the state’s residents and contributes to many of the negative health status indicators plaguing the state. Regardless of your position on the current debate about the future of health care, the one constant on both sides of the debate is the need for more primary-care physicians.”
Carew said a goal of the program is to develop a pipeline of future medical providers.
“With a declining number of rural physicians, the concern for adequate health care increases,” she said. “To date, 217 students have participated in the RMS program, with most planning health-related careers. Twenty of our graduates went on to medical school and eight of those are practicing physicians today. 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.”
Erin Newman took part in the program in 2005 and will graduate in 2010 from MSU with a degree in biological engineering with a concentration in biomedical engineering. She has been accepted to medical school for next fall.
“The program helped me learn which medical fields I am interested in and which ones I am not. It also gave me a great head start on college classes,” she said.
Newman said she is glad the program is resuming and hopes her younger brother will be able to participate in 2010.
“The program encourages students to consider family medicine and makes them aware of the need for doctors in rural areas,” Newman said.
Twenty students between their junior and senior years with ACT composite scores of at least 25 will take two pre-med courses on the Starkville campus -- biology and pre-calculus -- and observe doctors at practice from May 30 until July 1.
The selected scholars 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.
Applications must be submitted by March 22. Applications and program details are available online at MSUcares.com.