The Summer Experience Communities are chosen by the REHPS Advisory Panel based on recommendations, past clinical experience, preceptoring skills, and community support and involvement. Each year, the REHPS Advisory Panel will select 3 more communities, capping off the total at 15 communities. Students from each discipline will also increase and be capped off at 30.

Students are ranked by a selection committee based on their application which includes: a letter of recommendation, an essay on why they are interested in a rural experience, and the completion of the REHPS application. The top ranking students are then partnered together and placed in one of the participating communities.

While in the community students are provided with free housing, some meals and a stipend. Students may also have other “free perks” that the community may offer them such as a wellness center pass, golf membership, meal coupons for restaurants around town, etc. Students are also exposed to all areas of healthcare not just in the facility, but the community as well. Our hope is that students understand the need to work with other medical professional and community leaders to provide the best care possible.

The students are required to complete a community project which is a combined effort of the students and the site contact person. Together they will work to provide some healthcare service to the community citizens. Then, at the end of their 4 week experience, the students present their community project and Summer Experience to the facility and community. This provides a wonderful opportunity for the CEO, Mayor, Dept Heads, community service groups and leaders to really see the wonderful opportunity the students received and how this experience can make an impact on their community’s recruitment and retention of healthcare providers.

In an effort to make this program as successful as possible, the REHPS Program Manager meets with the communities and students before the Summer Experience starts to go over guidelines, expectations, and relevant material. The REHPS Program Manager will also present the Summer Experience to local chamber/service/community groups in an attempt to drive home the impact a single healthcare provider can make on a rural community. Information regarding community financial support of this program will also be discussed in order to see the continued success of rural healthcare.