Rural-PRIME is part of the University of California's "PRograms In Medical Education" or PRIME, which is designed to produce physician leaders who are trained in and committed to helping California's underserved communities.
One of five programs within the University of California, UC Davis Rural-PRIME was created to train the best and the brightest medical students for a fulfilling career in a rural community. It is an opportunity that offers a range of experiences, from public health and community service to the use of leading-edge medical technologies like telemedicine. Rural-PRIME creates a new model for non-urban medical practice, one that utilizes advanced technologies to provide up-to-date health-care knowledge while also preserving the positive aspects of smaller, more remote clinics.
The innovative curriculum will:
- Increase student exposure to rural practice
- Allow for consistent teaching and mentorship by rural physicians
- Equip students with tools for life-long learning
- Combine the M.D. and master's degrees in public health, medical informatics or another, related health-care field.
By 2015, California will be facing a huge shortage of physicians. Twenty percent of the population in California lives in rural areas, but only nine percent of physicians practice rurally. With these disparities, rural patients have poorer outcomes on several measures than their urban counterparts: higher levels of chronic conditions, higher rates of hospitalizations and higher rates of cancer deaths. Rural-PRIME was developed to address the lack of access in rural areas, and to reduce health care disparities in rural populations.
At UC Davis, Rural-PRIME will train rural physicians by building on the strengths of the UC Davis School of Medicine:
- Excellence in primary care education
- Commitment to rural outreach
- Expertise in the use of telecommunications technology
- Public health and community service orientation
UC Davis is internationally recognized for its telemedicine program. Rural-PRIME students will receive extensive training on the use of telemedicine and simulation equipment. This equipment has been shown to improve access to specialty care in rural areas statewide and provides a valuable tool for training future rural physicians.