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Why is RUUTE launching a Badge program?   

Our mission is “To improve medical education and training, health care access and long-term socio-economic benefit for rural and underserved communities of Utah and the surrounding states of Idaho, Montana, & Wyoming by expanding interest, awareness, and placement of students and physicians.” A badge program fits within our mission by encouraging medical students to participate in activities and education that will expand interest in and awareness of the needs of rural and underserved communities. 

Badges create more opportunities for our students to recognize their work and will help communicate student’s experience and accomplishments to other stakeholders.


How does creating a RUUTE badge fit into our UUSOM culture? 

UUSOM seeks student who emphasize “community, relationships, and professionalism”.  By creating a program that incentivizes and rewards participation in activities that serve rural and underserved communities, a RUUTE badge fits perfectly with this goal.  UUSOM also values innovation and creation and this is one of the first badge initiatives in a medical school program. 


Will a RUUTE badge be mandatory or voluntary? 

All badge activities will be voluntary. 


Will it be a physical badge that I wear on my white coat?  Or a digital one? 

Though we would love to place a badge on your white coat, at this time it will simply be a digital badge.  Here is an example of what it could look like on a social media profile.  Screenshot example here. 


We may have some sticker or pin versions in the future. 


Can I list a RUUTE badge on my CV? 

Definitely. Residency Directors have indicated they feel that a badge would make your residency application stand out.  Here is an example of how you could list it on your accomplishments. 

ERAS: Work experience section. List the badge and then an explanation or link. 

 What Electives Count Towards the Rural Interest Badge? 

  • MDID 6001 Research & Innovation: How to be an Excellent and Communicative Scientist
  • MDID 6002 Virtual Care: Telemedicine for Future Providers
  • MDID 6003 Caring for the Underserved: Rural & Refugee Health in Utah
  • MDID 6004 Sustainability, Medicine, & Health

 Check back for more courses!


What is the difference between a being a RUUTE Scholar and obtaining a RUUTE badge? 

Students apply for the RUUTE scholar program prior to medical school and matriculate into medical school with that designation.  As a RUUTE Scholar there are some required and suggested activities that overlap with the badge program.  Any RUUTE Scholar can use their activities to earn a badge and further enhance their rural and underserved experience.  Likewise, students who are not RUUTE scholars can complete activities and earn badges as a way to communicate with residency programs their interest in and dedication to rural and underserved medicine. 


How does a RUUTE badge fit into pathway programs and certificates? 

Great question- many activities with the badge can be counted towards other pathway programs and certificates. The RUUTE badge is more based on extracurricular experiences and the pathways and certificates are more academic based.  Pathways and certificates require more of a time commitment.  For those who don’t have the time or bandwidth to complete a certificate, badges offer a way to showcase your interest in rural health.  For those of you in a pathway/certificate program, we see badges as a way to further highlight your commitment to rural medicine.  Badges and certificates can work hand-in-hand to enhance your rural and underserved experience!    


What is the research behind the badge?   

Digital badges are used for many reasons in different environments. Badges can be used contrastingly depending on the activities that they are in conjunction with. Badges encourage learning, acknowledge status, and provide earners the opportunity to display their skills to organizations such as employers and educational institutions. These benefits of the digital badge, make goal setting easy and constructive 

“Badges also promote lifelong learning that extends beyond the classroom and brings to light accomplishments that otherwise might have been hidden.[Digital badges are associated with the gamification of learning, whereby game design and game mechanics are used in non-game contexts to encourage learning (Gibbons,2020) identified 13 roles for digital open badges in a higher education setting.” (Gibbons,2020 

Digital badges provide acknowledgment of status. Earning a badge is similar to having credentials. “Digital badges in education can similarly provide a direct link to an assessable artifact, or an indirect link to a collection of evidence needed to pass a unit, graduate from a program, or get a job (Gibson, 2013).”  

Digital badges allow students, learners, and participants the option to exhibit skills to employers, community organizations, educational institutions, and many others. (Educause 2014). “As students increasingly read, write, and learn in hybrid learning spaces, educators need to recognize learning pathways across these contexts. Moving across in-school and community contexts through these learning experiences presumably will prepare students for the more fluid and dynamic networked learning contexts of the future (O'Byrne, Schenke, Willis & Hickey, 2017).”  


Gibson, David, Ostashewski, Nathaniel, Flintoff, Kim, Grant, Sheryl, and Knight, Erin. "Digital Badges in Education." Education and Information Technologies 20.2 (2013): 403-10. Web. 

Shields, R., & Chugh, R. (2017). Digital badges - rewards for learning? Education and Information Technologies, 22(4), 1817-1824. doi: 

Ian O'Byrne, Katerina Schenke, James E. Willis, and Daniel T. Hickey. "Digital Badges: Recognizing, Assessing, and Motivating Learners In and Out of School Contexts." Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 58.6 (2015): 451-54. Web.

Gibbons, Wayne (2020-03-17). The Role, Implementation and Impact of Digital Open Badges on a Civil Engineering Degree (edd thesis). The Open University.