Rural and Urban Scholars Pathways
What is RUSP?
The Rural and Urban Scholars Pathways program is a co-curricular learning community that aims to support and prepare medical student to practice in medically underserved areas. With the addition of the 2022–2023 cohort, the total number of students participating in the RUSP program is 138, including all four years across all three campuses. In 2022-2023, RUSP student represented 14% of the student body at HCOM.
Watch the video below to hear RUSP graduate, Alyssa Gerth, D.O. (’20), talk about the RUSP program in her own words.
Goals of RUSP
Encourage students toward rural and urban underserved practice
Foster a reflective learning community
Develop competencies relevant to rural and urban underserved practice
Develop leadership skills in team settings
Build awareness of community assets and sense of place in rural and urban underserved communities
Promote community-engaged scholarly work in underserved settings
Components of RUSP
Clinical Jazz, a longitudinal small-group experience in leadership development and peer coaching with a focus on competencies for practice in an underserved setting, experiential place-based learning and mentorship
Individualized coaching with a physician who has practiced in a rural and/or urban underserved community
Professional development workshops focused on active exploration of issues relevant to rural and urban underserved practice
Immersion experience for students in between their first and second years in a setting of relative austerity (possibly a global health experience)
Six months or the equivalent of curricular time in a rural or urban underserved setting
Scholarly project relevant to the health of rural and urban underserved communities
RUSP Community Orienting Experience - a three-day immersive program in rural and urban underserved communities in central and southeastern Ohio for new RUSP students
Other Opportunities and Scholarships
RUSP students interested in practicing in rural settings are encouraged to apply to the Rural Health Scholars Retreat each fall (open to students from all of Ohio’s medical schools).
RUSP will support any RUSP student in their application for scholarships offered by the Heritage College.
Apply to RUSP
Unlike many other rural or urban tracks at medical schools, RUSP is a pathway. This means that students can apply to the program as an accepted pre-matriculated student or as an OMS1. The application opens each academic year on November 1. The deadline for current students to apply is March 15.
Students are encouraged to review the online application in advance, in order to know what documents are needed at time of submission.
For questions or additional information, please contact Dawn Mollica, administrative director.
The RUSP Team
The RUSP program was designed and implemented by Randall Longenecker, M.D. in 2013. The RUSP team includes director Sharon Casapulla, Ed.D., M.P.H., and three associate directors, one on each campus. Katy Kropf, D.O. ('02), is the associate director on the Athens campus. Fran Blais, D.O., is the associate director on the Dublin campus, and Jessica Griggs, D.O. ('98), M.P.H., M.B.A., is the associate director on the Cleveland campus. We are supported in our work by Dawn Mollica, administrative director for the Office of Rural and Underserved Programs. Feel free to reach out to any member of the RUSP team for more information. We look forward to hearing from you.
Each of the physician leaders on the RUSP team has been in rural or urban underserved practice. RUSP students receive regular coaching from some of the top instructors in medicine, including the National Rural Health Association's Educator of the Year and two who were named Mentor of the Year.
RUSP 10 Year Anniversary
Throughout 2023 we are celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the establishment of the RUSP program at OU-HCOM. On September 13, we held a celebration and appreciation event on each campus. We were joined by two HCOM graduates who participated in the RUSP program. If you missed it, you can view the presentation by Stephanie Deuley.
The students who participate in RUSP, the mentor physicians who volunteer as RUSP coaches, and the faculty, staff and community members who facilitate Clinical Jazz have made RUSP the successful program it is. Click here to see photos of RUSP over the past 10 years.
Since 2016,190 HCOM students have graduated from the RUSP program .Our graduates are now out in practice!
- 37% (25) are practicing in a Primary Care Health Professions Shortage Area (HPSA)
- 72% (49) are practicing in a Mental Health HPSA
- 26% (18) are in Medically Underserved Areas (MUAs)
- 26% (18) grads in practicing in rural places (RUCA score of 4 or higher). For context, Athens is a RUCA 4.
- 69% (47 of the 68) are practicing in Ohio
See the full RUSP annual report at the button below.
The RUSP Program was established with funding provided by the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations (OHF).