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Welcome to the Rural Program

​Message from the Director

Hello, I’m Dr. Mark Deutchman, Director of the University of Colorado School of MedicineRural ProgramIn 2005, the Rural Track was founded as an elective for School of Medicine students interested in future rural practice. The Rural Program builds on the 15-year success of the Rural Track, with the goal of increasing the number of CU medical school graduates who eventually enter and remain in practice in rural Colorado. 

In rural medicine, you will be truly needed and appreciated.  You can have a rich, varied, rewarding professional and personal lifestyle.  From the plains to the mountains, our state offers a variety of opportunities for students to live and trainThe Rural Program includes a robust clinical experience that provides future physicians with the knowledge, skills, and support from like-minded students and faculty to serve rural and underserved communities. 

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Want to connect with a current student? Email:
Jonathan (Jonny) Layne, 
MD Class of 2022​
Rural Track Student Rep​


Frequently Asked Questions​​​​​​​​​​


 What is the curriculum of the Rural Program?

Students in the program complete their Foothills clinical core year in a rural Colorado community. To prepare for this experience, students are invited to participate in a five-day orientation and rural immersion experience the summer before school starts. During the Plains preclinical curriculum, a variety of lectures, labs, and workshops are held several times a month that will help interpret and bring a rural focus to what students are learning in their regular courses. In the Alpine Ascent phase of the curriculum there will be additional opportunities for participation in rural-focused courses​


 What makes the Rural Program unique

​Similar to the larger CUSOM curriculum, students will participate in a longitudinal integrated clerkship (LIC) model during the Foothills curriculum. Students in the Rural Program spend the year at dispersed sites in one rural Colorado community or several neighboring towns. Each site typically has one or two learners, so our students have extensive opportunities for hands-on experiences and participation in procedures. Students receive considerable one-on-one teaching and mentorship and have an active role in patient care. Those who are self-directed, highly motivated, and community-oriented are best suited for the Rural Program.​


 How many students can participate in the Rural Program and how are they selected?

The program accepts up to 20 students per class. Students are typically selected prior to matriculation. 

Applicants who wish to be considered for the Rural Program submit an additional essay on the Colorado secondary application that addresses the following components: a description of your personal rural experience, ties to Colorado (if any), how the Rural Program’s goals match your personal and career goals, your primary care experience, and your commitment to fully participate in the curriculum.   

Applicants who are invited to interview at the School of Medicine and submitted an essay for the Rural Program will be invited to meet with a member of the leadership team to discuss their background and interests. This meeting typically takes place the day before or at the end of the interview day but may occur any time prior to second look day. Once admitted to the School of Medicine, acceptance to the Rural Program will be offered on a rolling basis until all slots are filled (usually mid-April).  ​


 How are sites assigned for the rural clinical experience?

The sites are located in various regions of Colorado and vary in population size and services. Students have the opportunity to rank their preferences, but placement decisions are made based on fit and availability of sites.


 Are there any scholarships dedicated specifically to Rural Program students?

Many students in the Rural Program qualify for various scholarships offered by the School of Medicine in the areas of diversity and equity, leadership, and commitment to primary care. The Rural Program has strong links with communities that are recruiting for new physicians and some of those​ communities offer scholarships and loan repayments to students who commit to future practice there.​


Contact Info:

Mark Deutchman, MD
Director & Associate Dean for Rural Health
Phone: 303-724-9725
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Roberto Silva, MD
Assistant Director​
Phone: 303-724-8418
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Melanie DeHerrera, MPA
Program Manager
Phone: 303-724-0340

Lucille (Lu) Heimerl
Program Coordinator
Phone: 303-724-5090