Letter to the Editor July 24, 2013

MSU program thanks physicians in Tupelo
This summer local physicians provided a vital learning experience for a number of Mississippi high school students. On behalf of Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Rural Medical Scholars of 2013, I would like to thank the following Tupelo physicians, and their staffs, for their participation:

Dr. Stephen Amann, Dr. Barry Bertolet, Dr. Benjamin Blossom, Dr. Steve Carroll, Dr. Brad Crosswhite, Dr. William Edmonson, Dr. Amit Gupta, Dr. Barney Guyton, Dr. James Kenneth Harvey, Dr. Roger Huey, Dr. David Irwin, Dr. Edward Ivancic, Dr. Charles King, Dr. Frank Laughlin, Dr. Eric Lewis, Dr. Kit Melton, Dr. Johnny Miles, Dr. Paul Perry, Dr. Mark Ray, Dr. James Rish, Dr. Eric Street, Dr. Pami Taylor, Dr. Christie Theriot, Dr. Kristen Turner, Dr. G. Karl Van Osten, Dr. Christopher Webb, Dr. Chester White, Dr. Robert Yarber, and added thanks to Dr. J. Edward Hill for his ongoing support. The physicians’ contribution to these students, to their profession and to the future of health care in our state is sincerely appreciated.

These doctors provide opportunities for students taking part in the program to observe their practice. The program has been offered by Mississippi State University Extension Service since 1998; its objective is to “grow local docs” for Mississippi.

Scholars attend MSU for five weeks, take two pre-med courses, and shadow physicians throughout the program. Today, 21 of our graduates are practicing physicians, a number are currently in medical school and numerous others are pursuing careers as nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists, etc. Funding is provided by MSU Extension Service with some assistance from the State Office of Rural Health at the Mississippi State Department of Health.
Scholars come from throughout the state; doctors in Tupelo, Starkville, West Point and Columbus volunteer to provide shadowing opportunities – a critical element of the program that helps the Scholars answer the question “Do I really want to be a doctor?” Mississippi has the next to lowest doctor-to-population ratio in the country; thanks so very much to these physicians who are working to improve that condition.

Bonnie Carew, Ph.D.
Director, Rural Medical Scholars Program
Mississippi State University