Rural Medical & Science Scholars
Date of Program: Summer 2020 May 31-June 26
Mississippi has the lowest number of physicians per capita in the nation, which limits access to healthcare and public health services. Clearly, this limited access to care for our citizens contributes to many of the negative health status indicators plaguing the state. It also fails to capitalize on the ability of healthcare to serve as an economic driver within our communities.
Since 1998, the Rural Medical & Science Scholars program has been focused on “growing local docs” and other healthcare professionals by identifying rising high school seniors and inviting them to experience healthcare careers. Scholars complete 1 month of health science college coursework, shadow healthcare providers, and attend educational workshops. Many scholars continue studying medicine and go to medical school, complete residency training, and enter private practice—especially in primary care. Many scholars remain and work in Mississippi.
Adding one physician to one community contributes an average of $2 million in additional economic output and an average of 21 new jobs.
The Rural Medical & Science Scholars program helps high school seniors determine if they want to pursue health-related careers and shapes students’ interest and understanding of medicine, health-related disciplines, and other STEM fields.
The program aims to ensure a strong and passionate workforce for the long-term goals of improving Mississippi’s economy and increasing access to healthcare.
The Rural Medical & Science Scholars program provides substantial benefits to the State of Mississippi.
The long-term impact = Improved access to healthcare + economic improvement
Rural Medical & Science Scholars receive hands-on learning experiences in the healthcare, science, and engineering fields. For example, they learn suturing techniques, engage in a chronic disease and injury simulation; and learn about the intersection of entomology, functional foods, engineering, and research as it relates to promoting a culture of wellness.
- 422 students have participated in the RMS program.
- Scholars have come from 68 of the state’s 82 counties.
- 26% of participants represent minorities.
- 61% of participants are female and 39% are male.
- Approximately 71% of our graduates have pursued health-related careers.
- 48 scholars have attended medical school.
- 38 scholars are now in residencies or private practice.
- 29 practice in primary care
- 15 work in Mississippi
- Many scholars are pursuing healthcare careers in nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, counseling, medical research, public health, and physical or occupational therapy.
- Other scholars now work in STEM-related careers, such as mechanical, biological, or chemical engineering; technology innovation; and mathematics.
- Local area physicians volunteer to allow scholars to shadow them.
- More than 100 physicians have participated since the program began in 1998.
- Each year, 30 to 50 physicians volunteer.
In 2020, the Rural Medical & Science Scholars program will again be offered with support from the Mississippi State University Extension Service, MSU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, MSU's Office of the Provost, and the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care. The program ran from 1998 to 2007, was not offered in 2008 or 2009 due to lack of funding, but was reinstated and held annually since 2010.
Produced by Agricultural Communications.
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Extension Service of Mississippi State University, cooperating with U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published in furtherance of Acts of Congress, May 8 and June 30, 1914. GARY B. JACKSON, Director
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