Programs prepare rural Alabama students for health care careers

July 3, 2024

Thirty-five high school students from rural Alabama communities participated in summer programs at the College of Community Health Sciences to learn about the need rural communities have for more doctors and other health care professionals.

Through the Minority Rural Health Scholars Program and the Rural Health Scholars Program, both part of CCHS’s Rural Health Leaders Pipeline, the students spent five weeks on campus taking college courses for credit, shadowing physicians and learning how to prepare to enter health professions education and training.

The Rural Health Leaders Pipeline was created to address the shortage of primary care physicians in rural Alabama communities. The nationally recognized pipeline includes a sequence of programs from high school through medical school that recruits students from rural Alabama who are interested in health care careers and working as health care professionals in rural communities.

“I always look forward to meeting a new group of students each summer,” said Cynthia Moore, assistant director of the CCHS Rural Scholars Programs. “They are a great group of young people who are eager to learn about rural health care. It is great to see how much each person grows from the first day to the last day.”

The Minority Rural Health Scholars Program seeks to increase the number of minority students from rural Alabama who qualify for admission to medical school. The program is for high school graduates who, in addition to taking classes at UA, also are provided tutorials to enhance their knowledge and test-taking skills to achieve competitive scores on the Medical College Admissions Test, or MCAT. They also shadow physicians and other health care professionals. Eleven students from nine Alabama counties were selected to participate this summer in the Minority Rural Health Scholars Program.

The Rural Health Scholars Program provides opportunities for rising high school seniors from rural communities in Alabama to pursue careers in medicine and other health care professions. Students take college courses, participate in seminars with practicing health care professionals and visit health care facilities. Twenty-four students from 20 Alabama counties were chosen to take part in the Rural Health Scholars Program this summer.

The programs support CCHS’s mission which is to improve and promote the health of individuals and communities in rural Alabama and the Southeast region through leadership in medical and health-related education, primary care and population health; the provision of high-quality accessible health care services; and research and scholarship.

Minority Rural Health Scholars

  • Kerington Davis, Clanton
  • Mahogani Evans, Talladega
  • Whitney Gholston, Enterprise
  • Anija Jemison, Pelham
  • Danya Jones, Demopolis
  • Jakayla Kirk, Jasper
  • Lily Nquyen, Ozark
  • Camren Price, Cherokee
  • Zamaria Richardson, Demopolis
  • Julian Soto, New Brockton
  • Amy Zheng, Brewton
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Rural Health Scholars:

  • Blanca Alarcon, Demopolis
  • Constance Armstrong, Jasper
  • Alisea Black, Peterman
  • Magaly Chacon, Oneonta
  • Sariyah Dickerson, Greenville
  • Bralan Etheridge, Rogersville
  • Savannah Gaskins, Talladega
  • Avery Goodman, Citronelle
  • Tegan Gurtler, Moody
  • Sandra Hall, Highland Home
  • Angelique Hervert, Decatur
  • Rowan Hines, Hanceville
  • Omar Juan, Dawson
  • Aiden Knapp, Wagarville
  • Riley Mason, Boaz
  • Zoa Mussared, Henagar
  • David Paschal, Valley
  • Abbigail Peek, Remlap
  • Kenedi Price, Boaz
  • Aylana Santora, Slocomb
  • Alyssia Smith, Cub
  • Tiana Thrasher, Phil Campbell
  • Diamond White, Eutaw
  • Sawyer Williams, New Brockton
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