Paula Clawson, UAB SOM Huntsville
For the 14th year, the Alabama Farmers Federation has provided educational support to future rural doctors. During a white coat matriculation ceremony on August 20, Federation Executive Director Paul Pinyan presented $500 book stipends to the 11 new Rural Medicine Program (RMP) students.
The ceremony took place at the East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika, where the students also received medical white coats and stethoscopes.
The RMP is a training track in the UAB School of Medicine designed to produce primary care physicians for rural Alabama. All students are from rural Alabama communities and are dedicated to returning home to serve their communities. The track begins with a pre-matriculation year at Auburn University for students to learn more about the needs of rural communities and to prepare for the academic rigors of medical school.
The Federation has provided the book stipend every year since the first class started in 2006. To date, of the students who are now practicing physicians, 71% are in rural Alabama.