The interdisciplinary rural immersion experience takes place in 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, including veterinary medicine students from Colorado State University. 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. Incoming and current 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. The number of slots per discipline is limited since each program/school covers the cost for their students. For questions about the selection process or details about the experience, please contact the Rural Track Program Manager.
2018 Rural Immersion Week location: Delta County, CO
"Collaboration is the theme in rural communities. It's amazing what people can get together and do with limited resources. You don't see anything like that in the city." – Student from 2017 in Rio Grande County, CO
The rural immersion program in Sterling, CO was really great. We met many nice locals and got a great snapshot of what living in Sterling was like. It was nice meeting students from other disciplines and learning from many of the community's leaders." – Student from 2016 in Sterling, CO
“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