Frequently Asked Questions

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What is RMSP?

SUNY Upstate Medical University is committed to addressing the shortage of doctors in small town communities and rural areas across our region. In fact, the University has provided rural training opportunities to medical students since the 1960s. The Rural Medical Scholars Program (RMSP) was created in 2007 to actively identify, recruit, and nurture those interested in future rural, or small town, practice. The University's commitment to rural training means that the Office of Admissions seeks small town applicants and provides a holistic review of those applications for the College of Medicine. Interested applicants apply by selecting the Rural Medicine Supplemental option on Upstate's secondary application.

RMSP is not a clinical track program, but indeed offers four years of elective courses focused on rural health issues. Once admitted into the College of Medicine, RMSP students are automatically enrolled in the preclinical course: Introduction to Rural Health (FAMP1646). RMSP students may elect to participate in subsequent rural health courses including: Rural Immersion Week (FAMP1651) during second year, Rural Medical Education (FAMP1650) during third year, and Rural Medicine Community Health AI (FAMP1652) during fourth year. Further information about each course is available in the College’s Course Selection Book or found at http://www.upstate.edu/fmed/education/rmed/index.php.

Medical students not admitted through RMSP are welcome to join rural health electives upon approval from the Dean of Rural Medicine, Dr. Carrie Roseamelia.

What is RMED?

Rural Medical Education, known as RMED, is an elective experience that allows third-year medical students the opportunity to live and train in small-town communities. Participating students complete three core clinical rotations including: Family Medicine, Surgery and Emergency Medicine, along with the RMED Elective (FAMP1650) while living and training in a small town environment. For the elective, an emphasis is placed on the continuous and comprehensive care of patients. Students develop skills in the diagnosis and management of a wide range of common ambulatory and secondary hospital problems of patients across the age spectrum. Students participate in office hours and conduct inpatient rounds, laboratory work, night call, and case presentations with community-based attendings. Medical students negotiate site placements with the Assistant Dean of Rural Medicine, Dr. Carrie Roseamelia. A preference for acceptance into RMED is given to students that completed the Introduction to Rural Health course (FAMP1646) during their first and second year of medical school. Students with academic deficiencies or professionalism concerns cannot participate.

What are the roots of rural training at Upstate?

Placement of medical students in rural communities began in the 1960s with support of the Edward John Noble Foundation. In the 1970s and 1980s students spent a week with a Family Practitioner during the spring semester. Many students chose practitioners in rural communities. In 1989, Upstate started the nationally acclaimed RMED Program, which extended a rural training elective experience to medical students while completing their clinical rotations. In 2007, with a goal of doubling the number of students in the RMED Program, Upstate incorporated an expanded structure to provide recruitment and preclinical support.

What makes rural training special at Upstate?

Rural training electives allow SUNY Upstate to focus on the mission of providing excellent health care providers to our NYS communities. We do so by identifying, recruiting and nurturing homegrown talent from medically underserved communities. We provide pre-clinical education that emphasizes the importance of community-based medicine that focuses on the unmet needs of medically underserved communities. We provide individualized, hands-on clinical training with board certified, community based attendings. Our students try-out rural practice with the goal of setting a seed for future small-town practice.