UW Med School Program Promotes Health Care in Wisconsin

Published: September 4, 2013
Many Wisconsin rural and urban communities have something in common: a shortage of physicians and other health-care professionals. Rural and Urban Scholars in Community Health, or RUSCH, is designed to meet that growing need. The goal of this initiative from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, is to select and nurture students who come from diverse backgrounds and show an interest in practicing medicine in rural and urban underserved areas of the state.

Tom Mehner, Mukwonago; Meghan Conley, West Bend; Keona Thompson, Racine; Alyssa Maciejewski, South Milwaukee; and Peter Capelli, Kenosha - all pre-med students at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside - are among the first undergraduates selected for RUSCH.

Last summer, the students completed an eight-week research session assisting UW School of Medicine and Public Health faculty with various projects. In the summer of 2014, they'll participate in a 10-week internship in southeastern Wisconsin. Along the way, Dr. Bryan Lewis, assistant to the dean for health-related professions at UW-Parkside, and primary pre-health adviser Mary Beuscher will involve the students in leadership and professional-development courses.

"The UW School of Medicine and Public Health is very familiar with our successful pre-med program," Lewis said. "They also noticed the demographics of our campus; we're urban and rural. We have both segments of those populations here.

"Close to 90 percent of UW-Parkside pre-med students who apply to medical school are accepted - the national average is just under 40 percent. The university has a long history of intensive advising for students in pre-med. That is a huge factor, but just one part of why we have continuously achieved such a high acceptance rate."

Lewis said the interview and selection process for RUSCH mirrored what students will experience when they apply for medical school. While participation in RUSCH does not provide an inside track to the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, Lewis said it does provide students with research and clinical experiences not usually available to undergraduates.  
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