Frequently Asked Questions

What is RMED?

RMED enables students from the Syracuse and Binghamton campuses to complete up to 40 percent of their clinical training in community-based settings that include private offices and small rural hospitals over a 36-week period. RMED students quickly become immersed in the delivery of primary care and develop long-term relationships with clinical preceptors and their communities.

How did RMED start?

RMED was established in 1989 to broaden the training experience of Upstate's medical students. The program also helps address the needs of medically underserved communities. Since its inception, 208 students have participated in the program.

What makes RMED special?

Students perform in roles they otherwise might not experience until residency. They often have the chance to assist in surgery, perform and read CAT scans with radiologists, gain doctor feedback from patient write-ups, and confer one-on-one with specialists.

Who chooses RMED?

RMED students tend to be mature self-starters who learn best in one-on-one relationships with faculty and patients. RMED students are able to create flexible programs that emphasize their own educational interests without signing up for electives.

Is the RMED program only for those interested in practicing primary care medicine?

No. On the contrary, 30 percent of RMED students do not enter primary care medicine. However, they find the program supports their interest in specialties such as: otolaryngology, orthopedics, radiology, ophthalmology, urology, anesthesiology, geriatrics, emergency medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics and psychiatry.

What is RMED Prime?

A shortened version of RMED is provided to give students increased flexibility in making their schedules for their Senior Year. RMED Prime students start at the same time as the 36-week students from their home campus, complete their embedded clerkships and have fewer weeks of the FAMP 1650 Elective time. Students return to the home campus after a total of 19 weeks. They have less experience in continuity and hospital medicine than the 36-week students and are not eligible for the community scholarship. Students who chose this option may wish to do multiple acting internships or away electives in their chosen specialty, do international health, or make up clerkships that were deferred for an intercurrent masters degree program. RMED Prime students do not take RADL 7201.

How are students selected?

Students are selected by the RMED staff on the basis of satisfactory academic standing, interest in rural medicine, potential interest in eventually practicing in upstate New York, interest in primary care, and a judgement of the applicant¿s maturity and ability to thrive in an independent learning environment.

How are students matched with sites?

RMED staff assign students to teaching sites, taking into consideration student needs and preferences as well as academic interests.

Are there prerequistes?

Students are required to complete the medicine clerkship before entering the RMED progam. Other clerkships may be completed during the RMED program if approved by the department.

What is the preclinical elective, Introduction to Rural Health FAMP 1646?

This elective is required for all medical students admitted to SUNY Upstate College of Medicine through the Rural Medical Scholars Program and runs concurrently over the MS1 and MS2 preclinical years. The course content includes: once-monthly evening seminars with guest speakers, group discussions on a student-created internet (BLOG) network, assigned homework readings and reflective essays, hands-on-learning practicums, and a year-end final project during each MS1 and MS2 years involving a rural county. Participants will learn about the challenges, rewards, and unique opportunities of medical practice in a smaller community or rural community. Medical Students outside the RMSP program who are interested in rural health may register if space is available with permission from the instructor.

Where do the students live while working in the RMED program?

Host communities provide housing for students, either in the form of a hospital-owned house or apartment, or by reimbursing the student for costs of renting an apartment.

Will I feel isolated in a rural community?

While "rural" implies a remote location, RMED sites are just small communities. The resort community of Canandaigua, for example, is a RMED community. Most RMED communities are within two hours drive of Syracuse.

Who are the instructors for the specialty rotations?

Specialists approved by the Upstate department sponsoring the course in the respective communities teach the specialty rotations. The sponsoring department provides curriculum material and determines evaluations methods.

Will I have access to up-to-date medical literature?

Yes. With the appropriate accounts, the student can access Upstate¿s Health Sciences Library electronic resources and the campus network just as if s/he were at a terminal in the library.

If I participate in the RMED program will I be at a disadvantage when I apply to residencies?

Most RMED students report that having participated in the RMED program was an advantage in the residency application process. Many family practice residencies are familiar with the RMED program and impressed with its students. Those applying to other specialties have also indicated that the experience has helped them stand out from other applicants.

Can students live in Syracuse or Binghamton and commute to the RMED site?

All RMED students should plan on living in the community to which they are assigned. An important part of the RMED experience is living and working in the community.

Will I graduate on time if I elect this program?

Yes, RMED students graduate on time with their classmates. Full academic credit is earned for this experience and, at the conclusion of the program, students return to the Syracuse or Binghamton campus to complete their studies for the M.D. degree.

Can I take an acting internship (AI) while enrolled in the RMED program?

The 36-week RMED students may wish to perform an acting internship or away elective in their chosen specialty. Students may take one such elective during RMED by extending the end date 4 additional weeks. These are usually done during August, when no site visits are scheduled, but may be done at other times with permission of the Program Director. RMED Prime Students and students applying to Family Medicine Residencies do not have this option.

How much elective time will I have available during and after the program?

Syracuse and Binghamton students typically complete 12-15 credits in required clerkships and 2 elective credits. Sufficient time remains after finishing the program to complete up to 10 additional credits prior to graduation.

How are RMED students evaluated?

Performance is carefully and continuously evaluated. Upstate faculty visit RMED students 6 times during the 36 weeks to ensure a quality educational experience. During these sessions, the students make in-depth case presentations and receive consultations on difficult cases. The grading policy is consistent with the standard Upstate grading system. A total of 36 credits are earned in RMED. Each academic department offering credit through the program grades the student seperately. These grades appear on the student's transcript just as if the student had taken the course on campus.

What about financial aid?

The financial assistance provided to RMED students consists of housing, relocations expenses, and access to up-to-date medical textbooks in the host hospital's medical library. Many of the RMED sites wish to encourage participation by students in the RMED program, especially by students with ties to their community. In past years, these communities have offered scholarships to RMED students of up to $10,000 in addition to the housing support that all the communities provide. These funds are paid directly to the Financial Aid office, and can only be used to defer tuition and fees, so students with full scholarships may not be eligible. RMED Prime students are also not eligible.

Aside from medical school tuition, will I incur any other costs?

No; however, you will need a car.

When do I apply to RMED?

Students apply in March of their second year. They begin the program in their third year. Applications are available online PDF Icon or from the Department of Family Medicine.