UW News

May 29, 2003

Medical students head out of town and into underserved areas for summer experiences

The School of Medicine’s Rural/Underserved Opportunities Program (R/UOP) will have a record number of participants as it enters its 14th year. The program places UW medical students one-on-one with physician preceptors in small towns and inner city neighborhoods across Washington, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska. The program is offered in the summer between the first and second years of medical school. The usual placement lasts four to six weeks.

This year 100 medical students, out of the 178 in the 2002 entering class, will participate in R/UOP. Forty R/UOP students also will have rural or inner city research opportunities.

To accommodate the increased participation, several new sites and many new preceptors will have their first R/UOP student this year. In Montana, more than 100 physicians were willing to take students; 27 Montana sites were chosen.

New sites in Alaska include an urban Alaska Native Clinic in Juneau. A medical student who is an Alaska Native will train there. Another student is going back to the town where he was born to train with a physician who is a long-time family friend.

The first set of medical students traveled to their R/UOP sites May 16. The final set will return in early September.

The region’s Area Health Education Centers help match students and preceptors. At the UW, Dr. Roger Roseblatt, professor of family medicine, directs R/UOP. Patti Simon is the education coordinator, and Ian Maki is program coordinator.

For more information, contact Ian Maki at 206-543-9425, ianmaki@u.washington.edu.