Rural Primary Care Track (RPCT) is a specially designed experience embedded within the overall four-year curriculum for students interested in practicing primary care in rural or underserved areas. It provides opportunities with a small cohort of students to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to practice in communities with limited resources and increased healthcare disparities.
The RPCT curriculum spans all four years to include focused didactics, hands-on skills training, field trips, activities in rural organizations, and involvement in rural or underserved government. The in-depth clinical experiences with physicians and patients that RPCT is known for begin in the first year of medical school. This added experience requires an average of 4 hours per week in the preclinical years and minimal additional time in the clinical years. Students in Rural Track enjoy the close relationships of this small group and develop a family-like bond often making friendships lasting a lifetime.
The Rural Primary Care Track (RPCT) complements the QCOM TRAILS curriculum by giving a small cohort of students additional clinical experience, focused didactics and skills, and field trips to learn about our rural communities.
RPCT is scheduled during weekly designated self-directed study day, providing structure and meaning. Between full day precepting experiences, short didactics, and free study days, students will dedicate an average of four hours a week.
RPCT partners with regional clinics providing our students with hands-on experience in a variety of rural settings. Students will work with physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants, modeling the interdisciplinary approach used in rural communities. Students will take medical histories, perform physical exams, and formulate assessments and plans. Precepting in rural communities requires additional travel time and the College of Medicine will provide state vehicles for student use, in most cases.
RPCT didactics include Social Determinants of Health, Disparities and Inequities, Appalachian Culture, LGBTQ+, and legislative advocacy. New didactics are developed based upon the changing landscape of rural medicine.
Field trips include migrant farms, mining towns, and other settings that affect the physical and emotional aspects of the people in these communities. RPCT students have many volunteer opportunities such as health screenings, community events, working with the underserved, and mentoring our college EQUIP students in navigating the path to medical school. RPCT is scheduled during weekly designated self-directed study day, providing structure and meaning. Between full day precepting experiences, short didactics, and free study days, students will dedicate an average of four hours a week.
RPCT Core Clerkship combines the Family Medicine and Underserved Medicine Clerkships,
making it 10 weeks in length. Students will spend 2-4 weeks at different rural primary
care sites throughout the region. Favorite components include ACLS, health fairs,
focused didactics, and time in ETSU Family Medicine Clinics. Rural and Community Programs
will provide weekday housing during the rotation. Most students return to Johnson
City on the weekends.
Students must provide their own transportation and should consider family/personal needs prior to committing to RPCT. RPCT senior clinical rotation is a required 2-week experience, and further exclusive RPCT opportunities are available for elective rotations.
Questions about RPCT may be directed to Sarah Orick, rural programs coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.