AHECWW works with the University of Washington School of Medicine to coordinate a four-week, elective immersion experience for medical students. The program is called The Rural and Underserved Opportunities Program (RUOP) and it places students between their first and second years of medical school in community medicine in rural or urban underserved communities throughout the WWAMI region (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho).Preceptor applications are accepted each year in December.
Students work in clinics and hospitals with preceptors, experiencing their first extended clinical involvement. RUOP provides students with an early exposure to the challenges and rewards of working with rural and underserved communities and develops in students a positive attitude toward rural and urban underserved community medicine. Students also benefit from learning how community health care systems function.
- Students implement their expanded history-taking and physical exam skills, participating in a full range of clinical activities. They experience what it is to be a physician.
- Practicing doctors act as role models and provide clinical teaching that can shape students’ professional choices.
- Many RUOP students plan to combine their clinical work with a community medicine experience.
Students also complete a web-based community medicine course with UWSOM mentors.
- Learning about the social determinants of health.
- Assessing the community for health strengths and challenges.
The University of Washington School of Medicine Magazine featured the inspiring story of a similar program (called TRUST) in this article “Spurred to Succeed,” in spring 2018.
AHECWW recruits physician preceptors working in rural and urban-underserved communities throughout western Washington during the winter. Medical students are matched with participating sites during the spring, and summer rotations begin in late June. Contact AHECWW for more information on how to become a preceptor: info@AHECWW.org.
Additional information about the preceptor role and responsibilities is detailed on the University of Washington School of Medicine website for the RUOP program.