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Interdisciplinary Rural Immersion Week


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The interdisciplinary rural immersion experience takes place in mid-June and rotates to a different rural Colorado community each year. Past locations include: Sterling, Delta, Alamosa, Cortez, Lamar, and Craig. Participation is open to current and rising students in CU’s medicine, physician assistant, public health, nursing, pharmacy, and dental programs.  Students outside of these disciplines with a strong interest in working in rural Colorado are also considered. Spouse/significant others are invited to participate. All expenses (lodging, meals, and travel) are covered.

During this non-clinical week, participants have the opportunity to explore the community, meet with local community members, and experience what professional, family, and personal life is like in a rural area. In small work groups, students investigate one of these areas of community life: health and safety; education, community, and culture; business and economic development; and natural resources.  In addition, students are strongly encouraged to interact with their peers from other health professions programs.

Students who participate in this program have uniformly found that it enhances their understanding of rural community life and helps them think about what life would be like as a professional in a small community and whether that would be right for them.  A published article about the experience can be found online. Medical and physician assistant students in the Rural Track program are automatically considered if they wish to participate. Representatives from other health professions programs select a handful of students from their respective program to participate. For questions about the selection process or details about the experience, please contact the Rural Track Program Coordinator.

2016 Rural Immersion Week location: TBD

2014 Rural Immersion Week student presentation recording during Rural Grand Rounds

I had a great time and learned a lot about many aspects of rural life, not just the medical side. The food was amazing, the tours were amazing, it was fun getting to know other people in the group, and I am convinced that I want to practice in a rural area.” – Student from 2015 in Craig, CO

This was a truly unique experience, the program provided a great framework that allowed us to approach community members and learn about the town.  All community members were so welcoming and excited to share their lives and experiences with us.” – Student from 2014 in Prowers County, CO