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Rural Rotations for Medical Students

Most medical schools, even those without an explicit rural track, allow students to spend weeks or months in a rural location of their choice. And many rural residency programs welcome student rotations from accredited US medical schools, both allopathic and osteopathic. In the 2020-2021 academic year, due to the COVID pandemic, some programs adapted and created online learning opportunities. Some came up with creative solutions for the residency application cycle, even drone tours!

Even if a rural residency program does not have a formal listing of rotation opportunities, feel free to contact the programs and ask what rotations are possible. Using our Rural Programs map, you can contact any program for a possible online elective or limited educational experience,  e.g. a research elective online.

Rural rotations can also be arranged with individual physicians or group practices, and financial assistance may be available through the American Academy of Family Physicians – Find a chapter in your state.

The Visiting Students Application  Service (AAMC) is also a good resource for US medical students listing rotations and providing a uniform application for residency programs who participate.

For international medical graduates desiring to participate in a rural rotation, it is important to note that in person clinical rotations may not be available to you, simply because of malpractice difficulties and because of policies from the larger training programs with which many RTTs are affiliated. You are encouraged to send an email of enquiry to the contact listed on the residency site, and if you get no response, don’t be discouraged. Our leadership contains at least one previous program director, so we are aware that the sheer number of such requests can be daunting to some programs. You are definitely encouraged to apply for residency through ERAS since most of these programs do accept applicants from international schools.