The Rural and Urban Scholars in Community Health (RUSCH) program, a collaborative effort of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Platteville, UW-Parkside and Spelman College, affords selected students the opportunity to:

  • Increase exposure to and expand knowledge of careers in medicine
  • Work side by side with current UW School of Medicine and Public Health physicians, faculty and medical students
  • Participate in community health improvement projects and medical research
  • Conduct medical research
  • Participate in experiences that will develop knowledge, skills and attitudes to strengthen application to medical school

How it works

Rural and Urban Scholars in Community Health is a two-year program. The RUSCH program varies between the sites while maintaining the same overall goals and objectives.

The Academic Year Enrichment Experience spans two academic years and links RUSCH students to mentors, provides seminars on various medical and health care topics, and facilitates student involvement in research and community service. The RUSCH academic year offerings enhance the existing pre-med advising and campus health career organization programming at our partner campuses and provides MCAT preparation support.

Research Summer Experience offers an eight-week research experience coordinated by the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. Students live on campus at UW-Madison and participate in MD admissions workshops, health equity seminars, campus experience, community service and field trips to Wisconsin areas with health disparities.

Community Summer Experience is an eight-week summer enrichment program that provides academic seminars and community health hands-on work experience. Students encounter public health concepts and community health resources while they participate in community health improvement projects and work with underserved populations through Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) internship placements along with additional support in Milwaukee, Parkside or Platteville.

Benefits and rewards

  • Experience life on campus at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison
  • Establish relationships with faculty mentors
  • Interact with current medical students
  • Increase understanding of health disparities of both rural and urban communities
  • Housing and meals provided during the summer on campus at UW School of Medicine and Public Health
  • Stipend for each summer

How to apply

Applicants should establish an account through the School of Medicine and Public Health's online application portal and select the RUSCH program application. Students are required to submit the following:

  • Applicant information (completed online)
  • Resume or CV. Include all employment, leadership, and service activities since high school.
  • Written responses to three essay questions (one page single spaced per essay):
    1. Discuss the experiences that have inspired you to seek admission to medical school and pursue a career in medicine.
    2. In Wisconsin there are growing health disparities and inequities, especially for rural and urban underserved populations. What community or population do you envision serving in the future? What health-related issue(s) do you find most important to address? 
    3. Describe an area of medical research or public health that you would be interested in exploring during your RUSCH experience.
  • Undergraduate school transcript(s)
  • Two references (academic and personal) who will provide letters of recommendation

Please see the application portal for more detailed information about the application, including deadlines. The online application opens in November and is due in January each year.