Rural and Urban Scholars Pathways Program

Frequently Asked Questions

I’m not sure about my specialty interest or place of practice. Do I have to commit to primary care in a rural or underserved practice to apply?

The intent of this program is to welcome any Heritage College student to "start down the path" toward practice in an underserved setting. Students are encouraged to apply if they are considering practicing in any underserved community – (1) whether rural, urban, or international and (2) whether in primary care or some other specialty of primary importance to these communities (e.g. OB-GYN, EM, or General Surgery). Come explore with us! All we’re asking is that you be open to the possibility of primary care practice in a rural or urban underserved setting.

Will the fact that I did not grow up or live in a rural or urban underserved community count against me?

Although it is true that birth origin is a predictor of subsequent practice and we are looking for those individuals, the fact of the matter is that most entering medical students did not grow up in such an area and many physicians in rural and underserved practice are from an urban upbringing. In addition, we do not score applicants based on this criteria. A Selection Committee considers who will make a great scholar by assessing the whole package, the whole person – it’s the osteopathic way!

Do I have to be an Ohio resident?

You do not have to be an Ohio resident to participate in RUSP.

Who is eligible to provide a letter of reference, and can they send the letter directly, rather than giving it to me to upload with my other documents?

Entering students can obtain a letter of reference from anyone they wish. However, I would think twice about asking your mother – we don’t expect anything but the highest praise from her! Students applying during their first, second, or third year of medical school do have to provide two letters of reference at least one one of which must come from a Heritage Collge faculty member, or in the latter case, a CORE assistant dean.

If your reference prefers, they may send the letter directly, by email, to Dawn Mollica, Administrative Director, Office of Rural and Underserved Programs, at:  mollicd1 @ohio.edu  or mail to: 1 Ohio University, 126 Irvine Hall, Athens, OH  45701.

When will I find out if I am accepted into the program?

We are accepting applications for the RUSP program beginning November 1. Applications are reviewed upon submission. Applicants will be notified within 30 days of submission. Students who are eligible for a scholarship will be invited to apply. Students who apply after February 1 will not be eligible for a scholarship. Students will be given two weeks to accept or decline membership in RUSP.

Do I have to come to Athens for an interview?

An interview is not required to be accepted into the RUSP program. 

What if I change my mind after the first year?

That is why we’re calling it a "pathways" program. Physicians take many different paths to rural and underserved urban practice. Some individuals will enter the program and decide for whatever reason that it is not for them. We expect and have designed the program to grow through the four years of medical school even if a scholar leaves after the first year. We simply will recruit a replacement. Scholarship recipients, however, after the first year of medical school will need to continue to participate in RUSP and match into a primary care residency (family medicine, general internal medicine, or pediatrics) to qualify for a one-time scholarship payment in the fourth year.

If I am a student at the Dublin or Cleveland campus, can I still participate in the RUSP program?

 Yes, you can participate in the RUSP program. You will go through the same admission process as everyone else.

Is there a scholarship associated with the RUSP program?

All scholarships are centralized through the Office of Student Affairs.  However, RUSP students may receive preference for particular scholarships.



For additional information contact  Dawn Mollica, Administrative Director or  Sharon Casapulla, Director of RUSP,