You may have heard of NEOMED’s Rural Medical Education (RMED) Pathway, a student-centered learning community for medicine students with rural backgrounds and career interests, but did you know the University also is home to a student-led Rural Medicine Interest Group (RMIG)? While RMED students receive training in rural topics complementary to the medicine curriculum, members of the newly formed RMIG have set themselves some impressive goals outside the classroom: To spread awareness regarding health disparities; to equip themselves with knowledge of challenges faced in rural areas; and to gain a strong background in preventive care while at NEOMED.
“Rural areas are often underserved, and they need doctors who want to be there,” says Renee Brumbaugh, a second-year College of Medicine student and RMIG co-president. More than 11 million people reside in Ohio—and 2.5 million of them live in rural areas. To put it another way, if you’re talking in terms of landmass, a whopping 90 percent of Ohio has been designated as rural.
Definitions of what constitutes a rural area may vary, but one constant is the need for care in these areas, where there are physician workforce shortages (20 percent of Americans live in rural areas, but only 11 percent of physicians practice there), lower-than-average life expectancy rates, and higher-than-average rates of health issues such as infant mortality and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The Rural Medicine Interest Group meets throughout the year to host and sponsor events like physical diagnosis skills workshops, ethics seminars, rural speaker events and career planning workshops at rural high schools. It was also a force as a sponsoring organization behind a recent presentation on NEOMED’s Embracing Diversity series, “Infant Mortality and Adverse Childhood Experiences,” with guest speaker Marie Curry, J.D., M.P.H., a Harvard Law School graduate.
To learn more about rural medicine and opportunities at NEOMED, contact RMIG faculty advisers Mike Appleman, M.A.Ed., RMED manager and an instructor of family and community medicine, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Janice Spalding, M.D., (’87), RMED director and professor of family and community medicine, at email@example.com.