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Rural and Urban Underserved Research

ORUP Medical Education Research RFP

The Office of Rural and Underserved Programs is committed to promoting medical education research and scholarship in rural and/or urban underserved settings and with students learning in and about those communities. Through the ORUP Medical Education Research Fund, ORUP funds awards to faculty, staff and medical students for medical education research projects.

Eligibility: Faculty and administrative staff as well as medical students and residents on all Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine campuses are eligible to submit proposals.

This fund is intended to support medical education research that is (1) a study of the education and training of medical students or residents or (2) a study led by a student or resident in the course of their medical education that focuses on the health of rural and/or underserved urban communities.

It is imperative that the applicant address this in the proposal.

Funding is intended to support new or in‐progress research and creative activities. Travel support for attendance at conferences, short courses and symposia or final project dissemination is allowed. Funding is not permitted for faculty salaries. Funding for student workers for data entry or other research support will be permitted at the discretion of the ORUP Research Fund Proposal Review Committee.

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RUSP Research and Scholarly Activity

The RUSP research project is a scholarly, self-directed, educational opportunity for RUSP students who engage with faculty and/or peers to design and complete a project that addresses a question or issue that is meaningful to them. It must be related to rural, urban or global underserved populations. RUSP students can apply for funding from RUSP to support their research.

For more information and resources about doing research as a medical student, be sure to check out the Office of Research and Grants website.

The timeline below is a suggested process for RUSP students interested in doing research or a scholarly project. This is only intended as a guide.


  • Meet with RUSP director or associate director to discuss your research interests.
  • Draft brief research proposal

Spring OMS I

  • Work with RUSP director to complete IRB
  • Register your research project with the Office of Research and Grants
  • Apply for RUSP research funds if needed

Summer OMS I

  • Initiate data collection, program development, implementation, etc.


  • Complete data analysis


  • Take a research elective with program director or associate director to write up results and submit to national conference
  • Apply for RUSP research funds if needed


  • Take research elective (if needed)
  • Present results at local or national conference


International Research and Program Development

In the summer of 2019, Sharon Casapulla, Ed.D., M.P.H., led a team of researchers, including first-year medical students from the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and faculty from Pontifical University of Ecuador, in a health education intervention aimed at increasing knowledge and reducing stigma associated with HIV and AIDS. The study reached over 140 individuals in Cariamanga, Ecuador, a rural community in the southern part of the country. The intervention was unique in that it included two video narratives from women living with HIV/AIDS. We found a significant difference in knowledge and stigma between the two groups, indicating that the intervention was effective in increasing knowledge and reducing stigma. The intervention materials were provided to local community groups to extend the training to other individuals.  

Students listen while watching a presentation on a projector

During the research project, participants in Ecuador listen to the narratives of individuals living with HIV.

Here is a presentation to the Ecuadorian Ministerio de Salud (November 2019) discussing a summary of the results of the study.

Listen to a recording of the presentation on this research for the Ministerio de Salad in Ecuador (available in Spanish and English).

Selfie of a group of international research ORUP faculty
Faculty, staff and students from nursing and medical schools at the Pontifical Universidad de Ecuador collaborate with faculty, staff and students from the Heritage College and Scripps College of Communication in July 2019.