Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Rural Health Option: Increasing Interest in Rural Primary Care Using an Innovative Elective Curriculum


OSU Center for Rural Health staff members Denna Wheeler, Ph.D., Director of Rural Research & Evaluation, and Vicky Pace, M.Ed., Director of Rural Medical Education, recently presented the results of a three-year program evaluation associated with the elective curriculum in rural health designed to promote student selection of primary care residencies and rural practice locations. The OSU Center for Rural Health developed the innovative two-semester rural health elective curriculum for 1st and 2nd year medical students at the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine. Enrollment in the two elective courses, Perspectives in Rural Health and Rural Medical Care, grew faster than projected. Perspectives in Rural Health grew from 12 students in the spring 2009 to 20 students in spring 2010. Rural Medical Care began with 17 students in fall 2009 and had 32 students enrolled for fall 2011. Student course evaluations are consistently positive with 92% of students rating the Rural Medical Care course as 'Excellent' or 'Very Good' and 100% of the evaluations of the Perspectives in Rural Health were in the 'Excellent' or 'Very Good' categories. Six students from the 2011 graduating class completed the elective and 26 students are currently enrolled in the courses. Dr. Wheeler and Ms. Pace presented their research at the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine's 2012 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

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