Rural Programs

The Rural Health Leaders Pipeline at the College of Community Health Sciences was created to address the shortage of primary care physicians in Alabama’s rural communities. The pipeline is a sequence of programs from high school through medical school that recruit students from rural Alabama who are interested in health-care careers and working as health-care professionals in rural communities. In 2013, the Rural Health Leaders Pipeline was named the Outstanding Program of the Year by the National Rural Health Association.

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Faculty and Staff

Tina Whatley Adams

Tina Whatley Adams

Accounting Specialist
(205) 348-1389
tcwhatley@ua.edu

Tina Whatley Adams is the accounting specialist for Rural Programs and is responsible for maintaining and providing continuous fiscal monitoring of the program’s Rural Health Leaders Pipeline. The pipeline includes the Rural Health Scholars Program, the Minority Rural Health Scholars Program, the Rural Medical Scholars Program, the Rural Community Health Scholars Program and the Tuscaloosa Rural Pre-Medical Internship Program.
Susan Guin

Susan Guin, MSN, CRNP

Associate Director
(205) 348-6196
smguin@ua.edu

Susan Guin is associate professor in the College’s Department of Community Medicine and Population Health and associate director of the Rural Scholars Program, where she assists with curriculum planning, program development and evaluation. She is also director of the Alabama AgroMedicine Program and coordinates activities and curriculum through the Alabama Cooperative Extension for Rural Programs students. Guin earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from The University of Alabama Capstone College of Nursing and her Master of Science in Nursing Degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Drake Lavender

Drake Lavender, MD

Director
(205) 348-1300
drake@ua.edu

Dr. Drake Lavender is associate professor in the College’s Department of Family, Internal, and Rural Medicine and director of Rural Programs. As director, he oversees programs in the College’s Rural Health Leaders Pipeline, which includes the Rural Health Scholars Program, the Minority Rural Health Scholars Program, the Rural Medical Scholars Program, the Rural Community Health Scholars Program and the Tuscaloosa Rural Pre- Medical Internship Program. Lavender was one of the first students in the Rural Medical Scholars Program, created in 1996 to address the shortage of primary care physicians in Alabama’s rural communities. He earned his medical degree from the University of Alabama School of Medicine and completed his residency training at the UA Tuscaloosa Family Medicine Residency Program. Prior to joining the College, Lavender was in private practice in Gordo, Ala.
James Leeper

James Leeper, PhD

Director of Education and Evaluation
(205) 348-1355
jleeper@ua.edu

Dr. James Leeper is professor emeritus in the College’s Department of Community Medicine and Population Health, and director of Education and Evaluation for Rural Programs. He is the clerkship director for the Rural Medical Scholars Program and oversees the academic, evaluation and research aspects of the program. Leeper completed a bachelor’s degree in physics and astronomy, and a master’s degree and PhD in biostatistics at the University of Iowa. He is a fellow of the American Statistical Association. He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers and has served on more than 200 dissertation committees at The University of Alabama.
Holly McCaleb

Holly McCaleb, MD

Assistant Director
(205) 348-1300
hmccaleb@ua.edu

Dr. Holly McCaleb is assistant professor in the College’s Department of Family, Internal, and Rural Medicine and assistant director of Rural Programs. She completed her undergraduate degree in biological sciences at The University of Alabama and her master’s degree in Rural Community Health as a Rural Medical Scholar. She received her medical degree from the UA School of Medicine and completed her residency training at the UA Tuscaloosa Family Medicine Residency Program.
Cynthia Moore

Cynthia Moore

Assistant Director
(205) 348-3116
cmoore@ua.edu

Cynthia Moore is assistant director and founder of the Rural Scholars Program, which includes the Rural Health Scholars Program and the Minority Rural Health Scholars Program. She oversees recruiting and coordinates instructional programming for the two programs and provides outreach through participation in local career and health fairs. The programs are exclusively for high school seniors from rural Alabama communities. Through the programs, rising high school seniors and new high school graduates spend five weeks in the summer at The University of Alabama taking college courses for credit, shadowing physicians and other health-care professionals, and participating in field trips to rural medical facilities. Moore earned a bachelor’s degree in education from UA with a major in health-care management.
LaKeshia Whigham

LaKeshia Whigham

Program Coordinator
(205) 348-1300
lakeshia.whigham@ua.edu

LaKeshia Whigham is program coordinator for Rural Programs. She assists with the recruitment of students for the Rural Medical Scholars Program and Rural Community Health Scholars Program and oversees the Tuscaloosa Rural Pre-Medical Internship Program. Whigham received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from The University of Alabama. As a high school student, Whigham participated in the Rural Health Scholars and Minority Rural Health Scholars programs and later served as a counselor for the programs.
Rural Alabama