Rural-PRIME is designed to enhance the UC Davis medical school experience and provide students with specific knowledge and skills that they will need for rural practice in California.  It has created a new model for teaching that utilizes advanced technologies to provide the rural physician in-training with up-to-date medical knowledge and to increase specialty access for rural communities.

Years 1 and 2

Rural Seminar Series Course MDS 490

Weekly seminars offer a forum to discuss a variety of specific health-care related topics:

  • Assets, Challenges and Physician Opportunities in Rural California
  • Healthy Communities and Community Engagement
  • Health Care Leadership
  • Health Care Technologies
  • Health Equity
  • Health Advocacy

Teaching by Rural Physicians
Rural-PRIME students are paired with physician preceptors who practice in the rural communities surrounding Sacramento. The physician preceptor assists the student in learning physical examination and history taking skills, provides exposure to rural practice and demonstrates leadership and teamwork within their professional setting.

In addition, rural physicians facilitate the longitudinal Doctoring program.  In small group sessions, students work with their Doctoring facilitators to learn physical examination and interviewing skills.

Peer Mentorship
Students are paired with a "big sib" within Rural-PRIME.  The "big sib" encourages and assists the student with the transition into medical school and PRIME. 

Training in Advanced Health Technologies
Students practice specialty health-care skills which are used for both common and specific procedures unique to rural health.  The sessions primarily take place in the Center for Virtual Care (CVC) and offer students an opportunity to become familiar with the task trainers that will be available to them at their rural clerkship sites.  These interactive simulation sessions also familiarize students with the telecommunication technologies that they will rely on for distance learning during their clerkship years and for patient specialty care in their future rural practice.

Year 3

Clinical Clerkships at Rural Sites

Students will spend at least 20 weeks immersed in rural communities:  

  • Primary Care: Students will spend all 8 weeks of their Primary Care clerkship at a rural clerkship site.
  • Pediatrics: Students will spend 4 weeks of their Pediatric clerkship at a rural clerkship site.
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology: Students will spend 4 weeks of their Ob/Gyn clerkship at a rural clerkship site.
  • Surgery: Students will spend 4 weeks of their Surgery clerkship at a rural clerkship site.

Housing is available to students while they are at the rural clerkship sites and students will participate in their class room didactics and doctoring sessions remotely, utilizing video-conferencing equipment. Students may spend the entire four to eight weeks at the rural clerkship site without returning to Sacramento, if they choose.

Master's Degree Program (Optional)
Rural-PRIME students will have the option to complete a master's degree program after their third year of medical school.  The student can choose the program based on their interests (e.g. public health, health informatics, research) with the guidance of the program director and their career advisor.

Year 4
Students complete 4 weeks of rural clinical rotations.

Students must obtain the equivalent of 4 weeks of Rural selective credit. This requirement can be fulfilled by one or more of the following:

  • Doctoring 4 course - Senior Rural-PRIME student who participates as a facilitator in Doctoring 1, 2 or 3 sessions (may fulfill medical school’s final requirement of a Special Study Module) 
  • Rural-PRIME Student Liaison position – Senior Rural-PRIME student who functions as the liaison between the student PRIME council and the Rural-PRIME administration and leadership.  This student may also be involved in curriculum development and/or direct teaching with more junior Rural-PRIME students, as well as pipeline (or recruitment) activities with high school and college students.
  • Scholarly Project Option – research project related to rural health or rural health education (will fulfill the medical school’s requirement of a Scholarly Project Option (PDF)
  • Curriculum development for Rural-PRIME –  developing curriculum for the seminar series or the CVC sessions for the more junior Rural-PRIME students
  • Community engagement project leadership – further developing and strengthening community ties and projects begun by the earlier Rural-PRIME students; leading community engagement activities for the first and second year students