RHPP seeks to recognize students demonstrating strong commitment to future rural medical practice. Students accepted into the RHPP Certificate of Distinction will be designated RHPP Scholars as they undertake a four-year course of preparation that includes seminars, mentorship, rural clerkship and pre-clerkship clinical experience, among other requirements. In addition to the advanced medical preparation, completion of the program will lead to a Dean’s Letter notation and a Certificate of Distinction in Rural Health recognition on the student's transcript.


The RHPP scholar completes a short application by the first Friday in August of Year 1. Prior to completing the application, students may attend sessions of the Seminar Series. This provides an opportunity to weigh their interest in rural health ahead of the application deadline. RHPP staff weights criteria such as growing up in a rural setting, expressing a credible desire to go into rural practice and planning a primary care or general surgery career; factors that have been the best predictors of future rural medical practice.

Acceptance into the Scholars program is not possible after the application deadline. However, the educational resources of RHPP are available at all levels of medical school training to all College of Medicine – Phoenix students.

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Program Details

Year 1 and 2:

  • Application to Certificate of Distinction in Rural Health Professions Program.
  • Effective for the graduating class 2023, students have the option of completing a rural scholarly project or completing a non-rural scholarly project in addition to an equivalent rural-related project. Subject matter must be approved by the Rural Health Profession Program Director.
  • Seminar Series: ungraded lectures, group discussion, and web based learning modules.
  • Rural Health Huddles: small group meetings with mentors to build community and commitment to rural health issues.
  • Four-week summer rural pre-clinical experience (during PAL block).
  • Rural PAL Student Responsibilities.

Year 3:

  • A minimum of 13 weeks of rural clerkship experiences, which must consist of four weeks internal medicine, six weeks of family medicine and three weeks of pediatrics. Other sites can provide rural clinical training in those specialties noted above, as well as in psychiatry, emergency medicine, obstetrics and gynecology and surgery for a total of 29 weeks of rural clinical training. The total required duration of rural clerkship placement will therefore be dictated by what rotation the site can offer, but it may range from 13 to 32 weeks.

*Specifics depend on what is available at that site.

Year 4:

  • Four weeks Emergency Medicine Clerkship.
  • Electives.
  • Dean's Letter recognition.
  • Certificate of Distinction noted on transcript.

Rural Health COD Course Description (PDF)

*Pending site availability