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The Rural & Underserved Utah Training Experience (RUUTE) will accept up to 20 matriculated medical students into the RUUTE Scholars program each academic year. RUUTE Scholars aligns with our mission to improve medical education and training, health care access and the long-term socio-economic benefit for rural and underserved communities. We plan to act on this mission by expanding interest, awareness, and placement of students and physicians in rural and underserved areas. The RUUTE program defines rural as “ A city or town that serves less than 50,000 people or is classified as non-urbanized by geographical location, resources, lifestyle, and/or service”, and define underserved as “A community that has a shortage of healthcare, education, or services.”

The specific required and recommended criteria for achieving the RUUTE Scholars designation is listed below in each of the four areas of engagement: Academic, Community, Clinical, and Service. All students regardless of residency state are encouraged to apply to RUUTE Scholars if interested. For more information about RUUTE activities, please explore our Academic Year 2020-2021 RUUTE Report.

By applying to UUSOM as a RUUTE Scholar, you commit to participate in the following activities throughout your medical school career at the University of Utah School of Medicine (UUSOM):


Elective Course Work: 

  • Enrolling and completing rural electives is recommended  
    • MD 6550 Population Health in the Rural Western U.S
    • MD6555 Rural Health Care Systems, Delivery & Resources


  • Participating in scholarly research that is focused on rural/underserved health or research that may benefit a rural/underserved community is recommended. If you participate in this research program, it has the potential to serve as part of your required activities. 

Community Engagement

Complete a minimum of one (1) of the following community engagement opportunities in a rural and/or underserved community. You may complete all opportunities, if desired. 

  • Rural Outreach Programs (ROP): Participate in one (1) Utah Rural Outreach Program (UROP) or Idaho Rural Outreach Program (IROP) trip in a rural/underserved community, where students are required to teach health science modules to elementary, middle and high school students. U/IROP trips are scheduled during winter and spring breaks and run one to five days in length. 
  • Little RUUTES: The RUUTE program has developed a K-12 outreach pipeline where the RUUTE team visits K-12 schools in rural and/or underserved areas to get students excited and interested in the health sciences. You can accompany the team and teach a class with them or teach a class by yourself or with a peer. This is similar to the rural outreach programs, but are done outside of winter and spring break. Little RUUTE’s presentations are one hour in length. Presentation time does not include travel time. 

Clinical Engagement

Complete at least eight (8) weeks in a clerkship in a rural and/or underserved community: 

  • Utah Clerkships (MS3/MS4):
    • Family Medicine (3 - 6 weeks)
    • OB/GYN (4 weeks)
    • General Surgery (2 weeks)
    • Neurology (2 weeks)
    • When available: Psychiatry (2 weeks)
    • When available: Emergency Medicine elective (2 weeks)
    • MS4 ICU Critical Care (4 weeks)
  • Idaho Clerkships (MS3)
    • *Students that matriculate as an Idaho student are required to complete their entire family medicine rotation in Idaho 
    • Family Medicine (3 - 6 weeks)
    • When available: Psychiatry (2 weeks)
  • Montana Clerkships (MS3)
    • Future clerkship opportunities coming soon
  • Wyoming Clerkships (MS3)
    • Future clerkship opportunities coming soon

As additional rural clerkships are added, this list will be updated.

  • Shadowing Experience: Complete at least eight (8) hours of shadowing in a rural/underserved community. Shadowing can be completed in eight (8) consecutive hours or may be split into smaller increments of time. All specialties are included. Travel and lodging may be funded by RUUTE with prior approval.

Service Orientation

Complete a minimum of two (2) of the following service oriented opportunities during your medical education at the University of Utah School of Medicine: 

  • RUUTE Undergraduate Ambassador Mentorship: To assist and mentor undergraduate students who are from rural/underserved areas of Utah and surrounding states as they apply to medical school. You will be assigned an undergraduate student at the start of each semester you participate. You are required to meet with your undergraduate student at least two (2) times per semester, or more as needed, to discuss a variety of topics related to UUSOM and medical student life. 
  • Participate in Rural Outreach Program Leadership: Upon completing a UROP/IROP trip as an MS1, you have the opportunity to apply to participate in UROP/IROP leadership (MS2-4). If selected, you will assist in UROP/IROP member recruitment and mentorship, establish budget funding from stakeholders, and write evaluation reports. 
  • Rural Speaker Series: The Rural Speaker Series offers rural/underserved medical providers to share their experience practicing and living in a rural/underserved area. As a RUUTE scholar, you are asked to attend at least four (4) Rural Speaker Series, assist in provider recruitment, and assist in provider introduction and meeting logistics. 
  • Community Volunteering: Volunteering in a rural/underserved community to address social determinants of health in a variety of settings, such as, community health clinics, food banks, after school programs, etc. Due to the variety of volunteer opportunities, please discuss minimum time criteria with RUUTE. 
  • University of Utah Service Trips: There are a variety of service trip opportunities offered at the University of Utah School of Medicine that may be completed to fulfill a service requirement for the service orientation requirement. Please see RUUTE for more details.
Ruute scholars activities

To find more ways to donate towards rural medical student scholarships, please visit the University of Utah School of Medicine Alumni Association website.

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