Rural Community Health Scholars
West Virginia Area Health Education Centers (WV AHEC), Rural Community Health Scholars (RCH Scholars) is a highly selective program available to 75 of West Virginia’s top health professions students interested in practicing in rural or underserved communities; WVU and non-WVU students alike can participate.
Health professions students in the following areas are eligible to apply:
- Dentistry and Dental Hygiene
- Medical (Osteopathic, Family, OBGYN, etc.)
- Nurse Practitioner and Nursing
- Occupational Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Physician Assistant
- Public/Population Health Programs.
- And more (contact us if you do not see your discipline listed here)
RCH Scholars is designed as a two-year program with one goal in mind: to enhance each scholar's ability to make a difference in health care by facilitating clinical, didactic, and community based activities in rural/underserved areas of WV that positively impact the lives of West Virginia's communities. Scholars will complete this program with a readiness to enter the workforce and an astute understanding of how to best implement health care services in rural or underserved areas, work as part of an interprofessional team, and provide meaningful patient care.
The program runs from September 1 - June 30 each year, and incorporates the following curricular emphases:
- Interprofessional education
- Behavioral health integration
- Social determinants of health
- Cultural competency
- Practice transformation
- Current and emerging health issues
Scholars will be enrolled in this program for two years, and must fulfill the following requirements annually for a total of 160 hours of additional RCH curriculum beyond your college or school's health professions components (80 hours total in year one, and 80 hours total in year two) to complete the program:
40 hours of community-based experiential or clinical training in a rural or underserved area:
Community-based training requires scholars to complete a pre-approved rotation in a rural or underserved area of West Virginia for a minimum of 40 hours annually. Scholars will receive hands-on training with a preceptor, engage with interdisciplinary health care providers, and become well-adept to the multifaceted nature of health care in rural communities.
40 hours of didactic education via our online platform, SOLE:
Didactic education requires scholars to complete 40 hours of online learning via a module in SOLE annually; courses are taught by WVU Faculty, the IHI (Institute for Healthcare Improvement), and several community partners. Scholars will complete one of the following three learning modules that most closely reflects the health need(s) of the community in which they are immersed during their community-based training:
- Community Rural immersion Module
- Cultural Competency Module
- Interprofessional Education Module
For more information on the didactic component, please see the Didactic Modules page.
- A $650/year stipend ($1,300 over the course of the two-year program) will be awarded to participating scholars.
- A focus on interdisciplinary collaboration with peers to enhance your education while also serving in rural and/or underserved areas of WV.
- Opportunity to participate in continuing education experiences with peers, faculty, staff, and colleagues.
- Gain collaborative shadowing experience in clinical and community settings.
- Make a direct impact on the rural and/or underserved communities of West Virginia.
- Gain recognition for your dedication to the rural and/or underserved areas of WV.
- Grow your passions through immersive experiences and a supportive community-based learning environment.
- Build relationships with scholars in other disciplines, faculty, staff, and clinical preceptors.
- Cultivate your professional skillset in leadership, problem-solving, community health, and innovation.
- Make professional connections in the communities which you may practice in upon graduation.
For more information, please click through the menu tabs on the left hand side of this page.
We look forward to reviewing your application!