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Rural Health Scholars

Aspiring for Excellence in Rural Practice

Purpose: To “appreciate the rural life, and to understand and aspire to [scholarly] rural practice.” —adapted from John Wheat MD, Salt Lake City, 2003

The Rural Health Scholars program represents an ongoing collaboration between the Office of Rural and Underserved Programs at the Heritage College and the Ohio State University Department of Family and Community Medicine. Established in 2002, the Ohio Rural Health Scholars strategy has served the medical schools of Ohio well in attracting students to excellence in clinical practice, in research, in advocacy and in medical education.

Open to any student from any medical school in Ohio with an interest in generalist rural practice, this small program is structured around an annual retreat held in a rural setting and enrolls participating students as members of the National Rural Health Association. The program is made possible through an Ohio State University Department of Family Medicine endowment fund established by the family of Dr. J. Martin Byers, Jr., a family physician who practiced in rural Ohio.

Click here for a narrated PowerPoint presentation reviewing the history of the Rural Health Scholars Program sponsored by The Ohio State University Department of Family Medicine and Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine Office of Rural and Underserved Programs.  

View an example of a featured presentation during the 2020 Rural Health Scholars online Retreat. Click here to view via YouTube

Rural health scholars on deck

National Conference

Each year, four to six RHS student participants are selected and awarded scholarships to attend either the Rural Health Policy Institute or the Annual National Rural Health Conference.

Close-up of a smiling RHS student
RHS students pose in front of The Capitol in Washington, D.C.
RHS student sits on a couch wearing a Care Leads Here t-shirt


Stories From Graduates in Practice 

See testimonial videos below from graduates in practice: "Oh the Places We Have Gone."

AuBree LaForce, M.D.: "Just Say Yes!"


Scott Rogers, M.D.: "It's OK if Your Dream Job Changes"

Ohio Rural Health Scholars Past Retreat Themes