Residency and Fellowship Programs

Lafayette Rural Scholars Program

Rural Scholars Track

Louisiana is largely a rural state, with 57 of the state's 64 parishes and 32 percent of its population classified as rural. Rural areas do not have enough physicians, resulting in inadequate access to medical care for residents. In addition, the number of physicians across the state nearing retirement age is growing significantly, while the number of students choosing primary-care careers is declining. Our state needs more rural primary-care physicians to care for its citizens. Research has shown that physicians who practice in rural areas were more than likely raised there and physicians from rural areas or who received part of the education or training in rural areas have a substantially greater than average propensity to set up practices in rural areas.

The Rural Scholars Track Program at LSUHSC School of Medicine, New Orleans, was created to directly address this dire physician shortage. The RST is designed to recruit highly motivated students who are committed to practicing primary care medicine in rural areas of Louisiana.

For students enrolled in the Rural Scholars Track, the first and second years of medical school remain the same. During their third and fourth years, RST students spend one day a week with their rural preceptors. Students are matched with rural primary-care physicians in or near their hometowns or their future practice locations, as well as with those whose practice interests match that of the students. While in these rural practices, RST students get a first-hand look at how a rural practice is run, gain a better understanding of the broad scope of rural practice, provide continuity of care for patients over the two years, gain experience doing clinical procedures common in rural practice, and get to know the needs of rural areas for possible future practice locations.

Those RST students spend their third and fourth years of training in Lafayette, LA where they train and are supervised by our faculty and preceptors and rotate through the following services:

  • Internal Medicine  
  • Family Medicine
  • OB/GYN
  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry  
  • Elective in a SURG Subspecialty

12 weeks
  4 weeks  
  6 weeks
  6 weeks
  8 weeks
  3 weeks
  6 weeks
  3 weeks