Going Where the Need is Greatest
As rural hospitals are closing in alarming numbers across North Carolina, people in rural areas are relying more heavily on their primary care providers — a dwindling resource. Fewer up-and-coming physicians are choosing to specialize in primary care, and the struggle to find medical students who want to go into primary care and practice in rural areas is real.
The Kenan Primary Care Medical Scholars Program — a collaboration among the UNC School of Medicine, MAHEC and The William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust — supports students specializing in primary care and seeking to serve in rural and underserved areas. Students like Travis Williams, one of those dedicated individuals driven to go where the need is greatest.
As a Kenan Primary Care Medical Scholar based at MAHEC in Asheville, Travis spent four months in clinical practice at a hospital and eight months in outpatient clinics. He developed strong relationships with his preceptors — teaching physicians — solidifying Travis’s picture of his future.
“I know that I want to do family medicine, and I know that I want to do rural,” said Travis. “Everything I need is up here.”
The Kenan Primary Care Medical Scholars Program is just one of the many ways that UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC provides a path to rural practice. Students from UNC-Chapel Hill’s schools of medicine, public health, pharmacy, dentistry and nursing all have opportunities to train in rural settings at the MAHEC campus.