Available to U of L Medical School students only.
The Rural Medicine Elective is a one credit-hour (16 contact hours) course offered by the University of Louisville School of Medicine for M-1 and M-2 students. This elective meets 3 hours per month. Dr. Bill Crump is the course director, and the goal of this elective is to provide regular exposure to issues of rural practice. Occasional site visits to a rural practice sometimes replace the monthly sessions. Topics discussed include the future of Medicaid, school-based clinics, residency training options to prepare for rural practice, women’s health in rural practice, making a rural practice financially successful, working with rural health departments, balancing personal and professional life, mental health care issues, working with nurse practitioners and physician assistants, children’s health care, physicians as leaders in rural areas, the future of rural hospitals, rural scholarship and loan forgiveness options, and how to find and what to look for in a rural practice. Since 2000, 87 M-2s have completed the M-2 elective. The curriculum option was also made available for first year medical students in 2002, and includes a day during spring break for the M-1s to visit Madisonville, tour the campus, and meet with rural docs. So far, 67 M-1s have completed this elective.
At the beginning and end of the nine-month course, a survey of attitudes and knowledge provides insight into the students’ understanding of rural practice. Overall, students showed favorable impressions about physicians’ practice in a rural area. Students believe that physicians in rural areas have the ability to make a positive impact in their communities both in health care and social leadership. A quantitative report detailing the outcomes of the RME was recently published in the dedicated rural issue of the journal Family Medicine. (1)