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Summer scholar program promotes medical careers

By Linda Breazeale
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi high school juniors considering medical careers have the opportunity to take part in an intense and revealing summer program at Mississippi State University.

The five-week Rural Medical Scholars summer program at MSU aims to identify the state’s future primary-care doctors and help them become members of the medical school class of 2022.

“The one constant on both sides of the recent health-care debate is the need for more primary-care physicians,” said Bonnie Carew, rural health program leader for MSU’s Extension Service. “The scholars program is helping to address that need in Mississippi.”

Carew said Mississippi is next to last in number of physicians per capita in the nation.

“Clearly, this limits access to care for the state’s residents and contributes to many of the negative health status indicators plaguing the state,” she said. “With a declining number of rural physicians, the concern for adequate health care increases as well. A goal of the program is to develop a pipeline of future medical providers.”

Carew said she believes the program is clearly meeting the need it was designed to accomplish -- increasing the availability of primary-care physicians and health-care services throughout rural Mississippi.

“To date, 275 students have participated in the RMS program, with most planning health-related careers,” she said. “Thirty-two of our graduates went on to medical school, and 18 of those are practicing physicians today.”

The program is primarily funded by the MSU Extension Service with additional assistance from the Mississippi Office of Rural Health. Twenty students between their junior and senior years with ACT composite scores of at least 25 will take two premed courses on the Starkville campus -- biology and sociology -- and observe doctors at practice from June 2 through July 8.

The selected scholars will receive tuition and housing during the program. A $60 registration fee is required after acceptance, and the scholars will be responsible for their food and textbook expenses. Applications must be submitted by March 22. Applications and program details are available online at


Released: Jan.15, 2013
Contact: Bonnie Carew, (662) 325-1321