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The University of Alabama

UA Brings 2016 Rural Health Scholars to Campus

Note: High-resolution photos of the participants are available for the media. Email 

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Two select groups of students from across Alabama recently were on The University of Alabama campus for the 2016 Rural Health Scholars and Rural Minority Health Scholars programs in UA’s College of Community Health Sciences.

160663, 06-10-16, Rural Scholars

Rural Health Scholars

These two five-week programs introduce students from rural areas to college life and give them an orientation to the need for health and medical professionals in communities like their own. Statistics show that rural students are more likely to live and practice in rural areas. The concept of the Rural Health Leaders Pipeline was developed as part of a strategy to recruit rural students into medical school.

The Rural Health Scholars, who are rising high school seniors, live on campus, take college courses in English and chemistry, learn about health careers, participate in seminars with practicing health care professionals and make field trips to rural health care facilities and a medical school. Students receive college credit, tuition, housing and a meal ticket. Since the Rural Health Scholars program was founded in 1993, a total of 625 students from rural areas in every Alabama county have participated.

The Rural Minority Health Scholars, who are recent high school graduates who will be attending college, live on campus, take a general chemistry course, attend tutorials, seminars, field trips to rural medical facilities and shadow African-American physicians from their hometowns. This program was initiated to increase the number of minority students from rural Alabama who qualify for admission to medical school through the Rural Medical Scholars Program. Since the program began in 2001 approximately 10 students per year – 166 in all – have attended the program.

These programs are part of the UA Rural Health Leaders Pipeline founded by Dr. John Wheat, professor of community & rural medicine at the College of Community Health Sciences. The pipeline’s mission, said Wheat, is to encourage, attract and nurture students of rural Alabama into and through programs to “grow our own” rural health professionals who are leaders in developing healthy communities.

Rural Health Scholars included:

Name Hometown County
Mariana Alvarez Southside Etowah
Ashley Birmingham Reform Pickens
Marian Bolin Berry Fayette
Katilyn Boykin Fruitdale Washington
Madison Brown Troy Pike
Kelley Burnett Cordova Walker
Jennifer Calano Gordon Houston
Levi Carpenter Sylacauga Talladega
Steve Chen Spanish Fort Baldwin
Imberly Flowers Alexander City Tallapoosa
Jessica Graham Moulton Lawrence
Harlin Hodges Wadley Randolph
Megan Hudson Honoraville Crenshaw
Mykenzie Jackson Opp Covington
Ariel Lee Moundville Hale
William Mayfield Pratville Autauga
Scott Nguyen Ozark Dale
Jessica Richardson Jackson Clark
Dustin Strait Killen Lauderdale
Bailey Stidham Hackleburg Marion
Nathan Tolbert Tuskegee Macon
Haleigh Tyson Silas Choctaw
Dalton Williams Millport Lamar
Courtney Woods Harvest Madison

Minority Health Scholars included:

Name Hometown County
Jada Bibb Autaugavlle Autauga
Chase Burton Alexander City Tallapoosa
Livia Coleman Jackson Clarke
Chelsea Craddock Abbeville Henry
Jada Mack Linden Marengo
Nicole Nguyen Ariton Dale
Jasmine Preston Opelika Lee
Jaila Rhodes Autaugaville Autauga
Jada Robbins Monroeville Monroe
Jasmine Rodgers Sweet Water Marengo
Epiphany Simmons Orrville Dallas
Preston Woods Pinehill Wilcox

Rural Health Scholars

Minority Health Scholars

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.

  • CONTACT: Richard LeComte, media relations,, 205/348-3782
  • SOURCE: Cynthia Moore, assistant director, Rural Scholars Programs, 205/348-3116,