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Rural Medicine Program students receive white coats, begin Auburn University studies

Published: 08/31/2016

By: Lindsay Penny

The 2016 entering class of the Rural Medicine Program were awarded their first clinical white coats as part of an initiation ceremony at the East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika.

The Rural Medicine Program is a pre-matriculation year at Auburn University for students who were raised in rural Alabama and will go on to attend the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine following the year’s completion.

The program is designed to support and guide students who will return to rural Alabama as primary care physicians after completing medical school. The first class started in 2006, and to date, 82 percent of the students who have completed medical school practice family medicine in rural Alabama.

This year’s class of eight students will spend the 2016-17 academic year at Auburn completing course work that addresses the unique needs and experiences of rural Alabama and its residents. They will then enter the UAB School of Medicine for a four-year program that includes an emphasis on the medical needs of rural Alabamians.

The Rural Medicine Program at Auburn University is directed by Lawrence Wit, biological sciences professor emeritus in the College of Sciences and Mathematics.

Wit was the master of ceremonies for the white coat ceremony held on Aug. 16.

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