Rural Medical Scholars Head to Medical School

May 6, 2020

The 24th Annual Rural Scholars Convocation was scheduled to be held on April 19, 2020, but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the accomplishments of this group of Rural Medical Scholars in The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences is in no way diminished.

The 11 Rural Medical Scholars who were due to be honored at the convocation have spent the last two semesters completing their pre-matriculation year before entering the University of Alabama School of Medicine.

The Rural Medical Scholars Program was founded in 1996 to address the shortage of primary care physicians in Alabama’s rural communities. It is exclusively for rural Alabama students and 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 School of Medicine.

The Rural Medical Scholars have visited with local community members in West Alabama, traveled to Washington, D.C., to speak to their state senators about the health care needs of rural Alabamians, and learned the challenges and rewards that come from working in rural medicine.

The 11 Rural Medical Scholars and their hometowns are listed below.

Will DavisLetohatchee, Alabama
Joshua GrahamAlexander City, Alabama
Austin KiddSouthside, Alabama
Eva KurttsElberta, Alabama
Shelby Lyn Kaup McClellanHartselle, Alabama
Kalissa MeansEutaw, Alabama
Griffin PriceClanton, Alabama
Mykel ShiverValley, Alabama
Ashley SpearsAndalusia, Alabama
Gabe StidhamFayette, Alabama
Cooper WrightHartselle, Alabama

In addition to honoring the Rural Medical Scholars, the convocation would have awarded Dr. Dan Avery with the Distinguished Service Award. He is the 17th recipient of the award.

Avery is professor emeritus of the CCHS Department of Community Medicine and Population Health and professor and chair emeritus of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the College. He also serves as associate medical director of the Alabama Physicians Health Program in Montgomery, Alabama.

The Distinguished Service Award has been given since 2002 for outstanding service to the College’s Rural Programs.