August 31, 2016This year’s classes of Rural Medical Scholars and Rural Community Health Scholars were welcomed to the College of Community Health Sciences with a day of orientation on Aug. 16 at Camp Tuscoba in Northport. The College works to address the shortage of primary care physicians in Alabama through the Rural Medical Scholars Program, which is for rural Alabama students who want to become physicians and practice in rural communities. The program includes a year of study, after students receive their undergraduate degree, that leads to a master’s degree in rural community health and early admission to the University of Alabama School of Medicine. Rural Medical Scholars spend the first two years of medical school at the School of Medicine’s main campus in Birmingham and then return to the College for their final two years of clinical education. Rural Community Health Scholars are graduate students not enrolled in the Rural Medical Scholars Program who are interested in health care careers. The program prepares students to assume leadership roles in community health in rural areas. Graduates of the program have entered the fields of public health, health administration, nursing and physical therapy. They have continued their professional training to become nurse practitioners, physician assistants, public health practitioners, physicians, teachers and researchers. The orientation included program expectations, introductions and allowed students to get to know each other and CCHS faculty, including Dr. Richard Streiffer, dean of the College, who opened the orientation with a welcome. Rural Medical Scholars: Rebecca England—Demopolis (Marengo County) Veronica Coleman—Butler (Choctaw County) Andrew Seth Griffin—Centre (Cherokee County) Colby James—Empire (Walker County) Jessica Luker—Camden (Wilcox County) Dustin Cole Marshall—Cottondale (Tuscaloosa County) Brionna McMeans—Fort Deposit (Lowndes County Johnny Pate—Moundville (Tuscaloosa County) Madison Peoples—Hamilton (Marion County) Madilyn Tomaso—Barnwell (Baldwin County) Rural Community Health Scholars: Sierra Cannon—Haddock, Georgia Chelsey Clark—Birmingham (Jefferson County) Raven Eldridge—Montgomery (Montgomery County) Paris Long—Coosada (Elmore County) Kendra Mims—McCalla (Jefferson County) Januar Page—Enterprise (Dale County) Kristin Pressley—Montgomery (Montgomery County) Jeremy Watson—Northport (Tuscaloosa County) Including the incoming class, there are 210 Rural Medical Scholars from 56 counties across Alabama. The 20th class entered medical school at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in August.