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<p>Rural medicine will get a shot in the arm in August when the Indiana University School of Medicine-Terre Haute launches a special curriculum to train students seeking a rural, primary care practice.</p>

First Class of Rural Medicine Students Enter Indiana University School of Medicine – Terre Haute

Eight of the 24 students entering medical school at Terre Haute will be the first enrolled in a four-year medical school program with a curriculum focused on the unique aspects of rural patient care. Classes begin Aug. 12.

“The rural medicine program at Terre Haute is one of the IU School of Medicine’s answers to remedying a physician shortage in underserved areas of Indiana,” said Taihung “Peter” Duong, Ph.D., assistant dean and director of the IUSM- Terre Haute. “About 30 percent of Hoosiers live in rural areas designated as medically underserved by the Indiana State Department of Health. By developing this program, the medical school will increase awareness and interest in rural practice among incoming students.”

For the first time since the statewide medical education system was established nearly 40 years ago, the Terre Haute center will offer the third year of medical school classes beginning in 2010 to students pursuing the rural health focus. Previously, the eight IU School of Medicine education campuses, affiliated with other universities in Indiana, offered only the first two years of the four-year curriculum. All students matriculated to the main campus in Indianapolis for the final two years of their education and clinical rotations.

The expansion of the program in Terre Haute was made possible through the cooperation of other medical institutions in the region, said Stephen B. Leapman, M.D., executive associate dean for educational affairs at the medical school.

“Rural Medicine Program students will receive their clinical training during their third and fourth years of medical school at Union Hospital in Terre Haute, West Central Community Hospital in Clinton as well as other hospitals in the Wabash Valley,” said Dr. Leapman. “The response from the medical community has been gratifying.”

The plan to expand class size at Terre Haute and the other medical education campuses is in response to an anticipated physician workforce shortage. Beginning in 2007, the entering class size will continue to increase by 14 medical students a year through 2012.

First-year medical students at IU will participate in the traditional White Coat Ceremony Aug. 9. The 308 students will gather at the Murat Theatre in downtown Indianapolis to don an enduring symbol of the profession they desire – the physician’s white coat – and to repeat in unison the time-honored Physician’s Oath.

First and second-year students at IUSM- Terre Haute will be on that campus Aug. 11 for student orientation.

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IU School of Medicine
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