Skip to main content

Frequently Asked Questions Overview


    The Rural & Underserved Utah Training Experience (RUUTE)’s mission to improve medical education and training, health care access and the long-term socio-economic benefit for rural and underserved communities. This is done by expanding interest, awareness, and placement of students and physicians. RUUTE accomplishes this goal via community outreach, becoming a preceptor, and various learning experiences for medical students and residents. RUUTE also supports medical students and residents with wellness, housing and mileage reimbursement, application support, and more.

    • Rural: a city or town that serves less than 50,000 people or is classified as non-urbanized by geographical location, resources, lifestyle and/or services.
    • Underserved: A community that has a shortage of healthcare, education or services.
    • RUUTE's vision is to:
      • Increase the number of providers practicing medicine in rural and underserved areas of Utah
      • Create a pathway for University of Utah School of Medicine students that will lead to a Graduate Certificate in Rural & Underserved Health
      • Identify, recruit, and nurture students from rural and underserved areas to matriculate and thrive at the University of Utah School of Medicine
      • Assist medical educators from rural and underserved areas to enhance their teaching skills through faculty recruitment and development
      • Facilitate University of Utah School of Medicine faculty in delivering high quality educational content both in-person and remotely
      • Enrich the community of rural providers by connecting them to a state-of-the-art academic health system
      • Build a medical education infrastructure that residency programs (also known as Graduate Medical Education [GME]) may participate in eventually

    The RUUTE program was created in 2018.

    RUUTE is completely funded by the State of Utah through ongoing state appropriations. RUUTE also receives additional funds and donations from community donors, and alumni. If you wish to donate to the RUUTE program, please visit our UUSOM Alumni Association website.

    Currently, the RUUTE program is available only to medical students. However, as the program grows there will be opportunities for students in other health science disciplines to help promote the multi-disciplinary teams that students will collaborate with in their professional careers.

    RUUTE is addressing health disparities in rural/underserved communities in a variety of ways. RUUTE educates K-12 students about health issues within their community. There are also elective courses where students can learn more about the current situation and how health care teams and stakeholders are improving the situation. 

    RUUTE works closely with the Office of Education Quality and Improvement in the UUSOM to track outcomes and success within the RUUTE program. Long term outcomes related to RUUTE’s mission will continue to be tracked through a multi-year effort as more students advance through the RUUTE program and eventually practice in rural/underserved areas. Recently within the 2019 - 2020 academic year, nearly 100 medical students completed a rural/underserved clinical rotation with a large majority of each class engaging in rural/underserved outreach, academic or community efforts.

    Please email



      • The difference between applying to RUUTE Scholars and the MD program is that the RUUTE program is an experiential path that students can take in conjunction to the traditional didactic training in the MD program. You are still a MD student but will be required to participate in additional learning experiences to enhance your training experience with a rural and underserved context. 
      • When applying to the RUUTE program, you will complete the normal MD application through AMCAS and the RUUTE application will be completed through the secondary application. 

      It is NOT an official track. There are certain specifications for accreditation purposes that would designate RUUTE as a track (such as being away from our main campus for more than 6 months). 

      The RUUTE Scholar application criteria is slightly different than the MD or MD/PhD criteria in that we look at the same desired traits as these programs in addition to keen interest in learning and serving in a rural or underserved area. The only true difference is that you will have to complete the secondary application for the RUUTE program. 

      There are specific requirements and expectations for medical students who participate as a RUUTE Scholar at the UUSOM.  Learn more about the specific requirements and expectations

      If you have participated in any of RUUTE’s undergraduate or K-12 initiatives, this participation doesn’t give you any preferential treatment in the application review process. The Admissions Committee will take these types of activities into account when reviewing your application.

      Approximately 20 RUUTE Scholars will be accepted each academic year. 

      During the admissions process, each application is treated the same as everyone else’s regardless if they applied to the RUUTE Scholars program or not. The admissions committee evaluates all applicants including RUUTE and has authority to make the final decision of acceptance.

      You can apply to RUUTE Scholars with the Early Decision Program, but you will not be notified of your acceptance into the RUUTE Scholars program until after you are notified of your acceptance status into the UUSOM Early Decision Program.

      We have dedicated positions for Idaho students as well as Montana and Wyoming students. If you matriculate as an Idaho, Montana, or Wyoming student, you can participate in many RUUTE Scholars activities (as well as helping us grow our Idaho/Montana/Wyoming activities). There may be rural/underserved opportunities for you through the RUUTE program.

      If you matriculate as a non-resident, you can apply to the RUUTE Scholars program. Priority will be given to applicants who have dedicated themselves to rural and underserved areas in Utah. We have learned that many non-residents have spent years living in our different communities who we feel will add to our class.

        • All students can participate in RUUTE, although if you are interested in urban/underserved efforts (e.g. Salt Lake City and surrounding urban communities), it’s encouraged to visit the department of Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion within the UUSOM.


        If granted an interview, the interview process will not be different from that for an MD or MD/PhD applicant. 

        If granted an interview at the UUSOM, there will be applicants who have and have not applied to the RUUTE program.

        Your interviewers will not know if you did or did not apply to the RUUTE Scholars program.

        ​​​​​​During interview day, you will be given additional information about RUUTE.

        Acceptance to RUUTE Scholars

          All RUUTE Scholars will be notified of their acceptance or denial into the RUUTE Scholars program by April of the application cycle. Your acceptance into the UUSOM may come prior to April of the application cycle.

          You can still participate as a RUUTE Scholar if you are in the MD/PhD program. The RUUTE team recommends you come and talk to our team to best structure a schedule that fits your needs.

          If you are accepted into the RUUTE Scholars program and change your mind prior to your matriculation, you can send an email to the RUUTE team at and the Admissions team at expressing you are no longer interested in participating in the program.

          RUUTE Scholars pay the tuition amount predicated on their residency status. Get more information about the current tuition policies.

          There are no extra fees associated with participating in the RUUTE program. Get additional information about fees once admitted into the School of Medicine.

          One of the primary goals of the RUUTE program is to get medical students to return and/or choose to live and work in a rural/underserved community for their practice. We do not require that students return to a rural/underserved community for their practice, but heavily encourage it through our different activities and expectations. 

          The RUUTE program is designed and structured to allow medical students flexibility in being able to explore various opportunities in and outside of rural/underserved medicine.  For example, there are other pathways that RUUTE students can participate in.

          If you need to take time off to pursue other opportunities or fulfill other commitments, please refer to the School of Medicine handbook.

          Yes, there are scholarship opportunities available to students who participate in the RUUTE program. However, the amount of scholarship funds vary year to year.

          Should you decide to withdraw your acceptance, you must send an email to the Office of Admissions at and the RUUTE Program at Your tuition deposit will be refunded if you withdraw prior to April 30. Tuition deposits will not be refunded after that date.

          RUUTE Requirements & Opportunities

            If accepted as a RUUTE Scholar, the required/recommended requirements can be found on the RUUTE Requirements page.

            If your resident status is for Idaho, Montana, or Wyoming, and have been accepted as a RUUTE Scholar, you may have the opportunity to complete some of the required/recommended requirements in your home state. Please reach out to the RUUTE team regarding specifics around arranging this opportunity.

            If your resident status is that of a non-resident and you have been accepted as a RUUTE Scholar, you must complete the required/recommended requirements in the State of Utah.

            Currently, there are a few rural mentors available to work with RUUTE Scholars. Please reach out to the RUUTE team to indicate the desired focus for your mentorship (i.e. research, clinical, teaching, outreach, etc.)

            RUUTE offers leadership experience through the Utah Rural Outreach Program. If you have questions or wish to learn of additional leadership opportunities through the UUSOM, please email

            Being a RUUTE Scholar is a unique experience with a myriad of different activities. Our goal is that these types of learning and engagements will help our RUUTE Scholar students stand apart during the competitive residency application process.

            Being a RUUTE Scholar doesn’t give you any preferential treatment with matching into a Rural Training Track (RTT) program but offers experiences that may align with RTT’s.  Again, RUUTE activities may help medical students stand apart during the competitive residency application process.

            Not Accepted to RUUTE

              If you were not accepted into the RUUTE program, you are still eligible for the regular MD program. 

              Yes, there are many rural/underserved opportunities available for non-RUUTE Scholars.

              Off-Boarding from RUUTE Scholars

                ​​​​​​​We expect RUUTE Scholars to complete all four years of medical school in the RUUTE program. If circumstances arise that could impact your participation, we request you visit with us and we will assist you in the determination.

                To find more ways to donate towards rural medical student scholarships, please visit the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine Website.

                Give Today

                CONTACT US

                Please contact the RUUTE Team with any questions, concerns, or suggestions. 


                CONNECT WITH US