Rural Health Scholars

The Rural Health Scholars Program is conducted by the UA College of Community Health Sciences, a branch of the University of Alabama School of Medicine. Rural Health Scholars live on the UA campus during a 5-week summer program prior to their senior year. Chosen based on academic achievement and interest in rural health care, these outstanding high school juniors from rural areas take two courses for college credit (English and chemistry) and participate in field trips and lectures related to rural health careers.

Statistics show that rural students are more likely to live and practice in rural areas. The concept of the Rural Health Leaders Pipeline was developed as part of a strategy to recruit rural students into medical school. The Rural Health Scholars Program was founded to encourage high school students to consider careers in medicine and health professions and experience college first-hand. Each year, in this 5-week summer program, 25 rising high school seniors from rural Alabama live on campus, take college courses in English and chemistry, learn about health careers, and make field trips to rural health care facilities and a medical school.


  • Rising high school senior
  • Have a B average or 3.0 GPA
  • Taken ACT (minumum score of 21) or SAT (minimum 1000 score)
  • Reside in a rural community for at least 6 years
  • Have an interest in health care with a desire to return to rural Alabama
  • Submit 2 letters of recommendation—one from the student’s guidance counselor and the other from a teacher
  • Submit transcript that includes ACT and/or SAT scores
  • Statement of interest