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Interdisciplinary rural immersion week

Submitted: 28 December 2011
Revised: 26 March 2012
Published: 26 June 2012

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Author(s) : Deutchman ME, Nearing K, Baumgarten B, Westfall JM.

Mark DeutchmanKathryn NearingBrenda BaumgartenJohn Westfall

Citation: Deutchman ME, Nearing K, Baumgarten B, Westfall JM.  Interdisciplinary rural immersion week. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2012; 12: 2045. Available: (Accessed 20 October 2017)


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Introduction:  Health professions students interested in future rural practice locations spend a week learning about and investigating all aspects of small town personal, professional and community life. This augments the mainly clinical experience provided by clinical rotations they complete as part of their professional academic training program.
Methods:  Students from professional programs in medicine, physician assistant, pharmacy, nursing, public health and psychology travel to a small community, receive an orientation and in small interprofessional groups investigate health care, education, government, law enforcement, public health, economy and natural resources.
Results:  Participants report that the experience raises their interest in future rural practice, answers questions they have about rural life and enhances their understanding of the issues they must learn more about before making a career location choice.
Conclusions:  The interdisciplinary rural immersion program provides students with the time, structure and permission to move out of their clinical ‘comfort zone’ and think about the cultural, economic and environmental aspects of rural life and work.

Key words: education, health services, interdisciplinary studies, USA.

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