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This article was contributed by our Michigan 3RNet member, Rachel Ruddock. Rachel is the Recruitment and Retention Services Manager for the Michigan Center for Rural Health.

As the 3RNet member for Michigan, I’ve found that it’s vital to cultivate the rural medicine interest of medical students early in their education and training. Michigan is fortunate to have seven medical schools. My office, the Michigan Center for Rural Health (MCRH), is housed within one. We have great access to medical students, however we still have to ensure that we’re providing quality information and events that will keep the students interested.

Every year, MCRH hosts the Michigan Rural Health Conference and provides scholarships to medical students to attend free of charge. We give these students the title of “Rural Health Scholars.” We plan and coordinate as much as possible to ensure that the students are fully exposed to what rural Michigan can offer them. Flexibility when working with students is a necessity. If a student asks to have their spouse/partner/child attend with them, we allow it. We understand that part of recruiting a physician is also recruiting the family members.

I start the day by greeting each of them at the front door with a goodie bag. At lunchtime they are seated with hospital CEO’s—preferably from their hometown or general area of the state (yes, I create a seating chart!) —and following the first day of the conference we host a networking reception in celebration of these students. Our attendees appreciate the opportunity to meet these future physicians; a rural Community Health Center that attended this year’s conference recently had a Rural Health Scholar visit them. Student feedback is always overwhelmingly positive. 

In 2016 we had five Rural Health Scholars. This year, we had 28 Rural Health Scholars! To say we were thrilled would be an understatement. In 2018, we’re expanding our program yet again. We’re going to continue hosting Rural Health Scholars, but also provide an opportunity for medical students and residents to present their rural relevant research at our conference. 
If you have any questions about our Rural Health Scholars program, or would like to learn more about our other events designed for medical students, feel free to contact me at rachel.ruddock@hc.msu.edu.

To learn more about job opportunities in Michigan, visit the Michigan page.Michigan's 3RNet state page here.

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