Rural health

Rural Health Careers Camp: hands-on learning for future health care leaders

The National Center for Rural Health Professions (NCRHP), housed at the UIC Health Sciences Campus in Rockford, strives to meet the health care needs of rural residents and their communities across throughout Illinois — and beyond! In 1993 the RMED (Rural Medical Education Program) was established at UIC. Over their 26 years of operation, program staff have become adept at providing experiences that link students from rural communities who pursue a career in health care back to the communities where they grew up; in fact, the program is the 2nd most successful in the nation, with 70-75% of students who complete this program choosing to establish their career in a rural community. In 2003, NCRHP was established within the RMED program to expand upon their success and diversify impact.

A key to this success is connecting early with rural students to provide information about healthcare careers in their own backyards. One program that exemplifies this effort is Rural Health Careers Camp. Held each summer at Rockford University, this camp provides hands-on learning experiences to high school students from rural communities who are considering a career in healthcare. Activities are facilitated by current healthcare professionals and include a hospital tour, accident simulation, and college readiness workshops. The four-day camp is offered at a very low cost and scholarships are available upon request.

CFNIL was pleased to award a grant in this year’s Community Grants Program to support the 2019 Rural Health Careers Camp. As a vital component of NCRHP and RMED’s long-term recruitment strategy to address the health workforce shortage in Illinois, the impact of this camp resonates for years and decades to come. Congratulations to the staff of NCRHP and RMED!

Pictured above (l-r): Dr. Alex Stagnaro-Green, Regional Dean, University of Illinois College of Medicine- Rockford; Vicky Rhine, Assistant Director of External and Pipeline Projects, The National Center for Rural Health Professions (NCRHP); Jon Bates, President, Community Foundation of Northern Illinois; Dr. Michael Glasser, Associate Dean for Rural Health Professions and Center Development, NCRHP; Dr. Hana Hinkle, Associate Director of Rural Health Workforce and Center Development, NCRHP