rural cows

Rural Outreach Initiative

Rural citizens face a unique combination of economic, social, educational, and geographic factors that create disparities in health care and isolation from health-related resources. The Rural Outreach Initiative (ROI) at Tulane University School of Medicine, is a comprehensive plan to address community health needs in rural areas of Louisiana and make a positive difference in both the alarming dearth of physicians and the poor health indicators found in rural Louisiana.

Initial activities of ROI included expanding contact between Tulane and rural Louisiana communities through a variety of medical education programs; identifying local physicians to become clinical faculty for clinical rotations in these sites; projects to assist communities with targeted public health priorities and needs; support of clinical needs through referral services; and physician workforce development including recruitment of future medical students from rural areas.

ROI recognizes that one of the most significant ways of improving the number of physicians practicing in rural communities is by encouraging and supporting the “workforce pipeline”. In the Fall of 2008 the Dean created two full scholarships for medical students who come from rural Louisiana communities and want to practice in rural communities.

The TRuMEd program is another way interested students can focus their academic education in rural medicine.

ROI has worked to expand the current rural clerkship options available to students to include new sites and preceptors in Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, OB/GYN, Psychiatry and General Surgery. These clerkships will give students an opportunity to have one-on-one experiences with physicians, have more of a hands on way of learning, develop a strong relationship with the physician, and community, have experience practicing in different cultures and with different cases.