Educational AffairsOffice of Clinical Education

Rural Health Care Track

The Rural Health Care Track (RHCT) provides opportunities that serve to expand existing curricular experiences that emphasize the practice of rural medicine throughout the 4 years of medical school. Students choose a rural community where they will complete multiple clerkships and strive to learn about the characteristics of the community and to develop partnerships within it. Upon identifying a health care challenge in the town, students will complete a project along with their community partner(s) to address/improve the focus of their choice. Additionally, students are offered a series of lectures to supplement their exposure to issues related to the practice of rural medicine (e.g. cultural identities, leadership skills, environmental toxicology, community partnerships, etc.). UTMB-sponsored electives offering a rural medicine theme are also available for students to complete. Upon successful completion of the program, students are recognized as "Scholars in Rural Health Care" on their transcripts and at commencement.

Overview of the Rural Health Care Track

Narrated Powerpoint presentation explaining the UTMB Rural Health Care Track

Goals of the Track

The Rural Health Care Track (RHCT) at UTMB exists to provide an expanded learning experience focused on needs specific to medically underserved rural communities. The Track provides a comprehensive range of experiences to support development of student competencies in these areas. The practice of rural medicine requires adaptation to multiple roles, knowledge about resource utilization specific to the rural setting, and an explicit ability to integrate a public health perspective into a rural practice. The learner will therefore complete track requirements involving issues specific to a rural community (e.g. cultural issues, characteristics of the medical infrastructure) and develop specialty skills required to provide health care within a rural community.


In order to successfully complete all RHCT certificate requirements, the student will:

  • Learn clinical competencies to effectively serve as a physician within a rural community
  • Participate in a lecture series and training events designed to provide insight and experience in areas specific to rural medicine
  • Develop knowledge and understanding through coursework, preceptorships, and community service focused on the physician's unique civic role in a rural community (e.g. leadership, public health advocacy, education, social group interaction)
  • Dedicate an extended portion of off-campus clerkship enrollment at a single community site to foster continuity of clinical care, office management/health care provider insight, and community culture experience.
  • Complete a long-term scholarly project aimed at providing an intervention to serve the health care needs of a target rural community.

Video Lectures from RHCT monthly luncheons

Did you miss one of the luncheons? Visit this page to view the video of past luncheon lectures. You must attend the lecture to get RHCT credit, but you can always come here to review any of the RHCT luncheon lectures.

FAQs about UTMB's Rural Healthcare Track

Trying to decide if the RHCT is right for you? Visit this page for answers to commonly asked questions about the Rural Healthcare Track.

Rural Health Care Links

Visit this page to learn about the different types of healthcare facilities in rural areas. You will also find links to organizations that offer funding and expertise to improve access to care in the rural areas of Texas.

Rural Health Care Track Contacts

Director: Oscar "Skip" Brown, MD
Coordinator: Brian M. Sullivan