FM 616 Rural Family Medicine Elective

FMP 616: Advanced Family Medicine Elective, Rural Family Medicine


This clerkship is designed to enhance the medical student's ability to integrate clinical medicine with experience in rural medical communities.

An emphasis of the clerkship is on patient care management by family physicians in rural settings. Two separate settings are available for this clerkship: rural communities or Native American communities. The location of the clerkship will be decided between the community administrator and the medical student. This elective clerkship may be taken as a four-week block experience.

Community Involvement Aspect of Rural Rotation 

An important aspect of the rural experience is gaining an overall understanding of the community. The student will have a better understanding of the patients and the culture in which they are living by completing this clerkship. One way in which we hope to accomplish this is to expose the medical student to the external community and culture in which they will be studying.

In order to find out what experiences the student needs outside of their practicing site, administration working in conjunction with our community sites, will interview the appropriate community link to find out what they feel are important activities that will make the medical student feel more involved with their community. These activities will be classified into assignments. For example, at a tribal community it may be appropriate for the student to attend: a powwow or other local cultural event, a tribal government meeting, volunteer with a local tribal organization, etc. In a small rural community it may involve a cultural event (theatre, music festival), a church activity, a sporting event (little league, high school hockey, basketball, football, etc.), volunteer at a local organization or fund-raising event, speak at a local elementary/high school, and attend a local government meeting. The student could pick at least three experiences in the community and at the end submit a report of their experience in 3 pages or less. This report would describe:

  • Activities that they participated in
  • The experience and feeling for the activity
  • Recommendations to other students that will be practicing at that site in regards to what outside activities they should become familiar with
  • Identify any unmet needs, particularly challenges for employment in the healthcare field


Completion of all required third year clerkships. Medical student must be in good standing with educational program.

Intended Audience 

Fourth year medical students in the College of Human Medicine.


Rural Communities:

1.     To participate in Family Medicine and provide patient care in rural communities.

2.     To gain experience and understanding of the rural community.

3.     To manage patients in limited medical care resource areas.

Native American Communities:

1.     To demonstrate an expanded understanding of Native American focused health systems.

2.     To gain experience and understanding of Native American culture.

3.     To understand Native American traditional healing.

Evaluation: Pass/Fail

  • The precepting physician to whom the student was assigned completes the standard Clinical Performance Evaluation.
  • A summary of the student’s performance is sent to the student in a form of a letter written by the Associate Chair for Academic Affairs in the Department of Family Medicine.
  • A copy of the letter is sent to the precepting physician, and to the student’s file.


  • Grading is on a Pass/Fail basis. The grade will be assigned by the Associate Chair, Academic Programs, Department of Family Medicine in East Lansing, based on evaluations of the student’s performance.


  • 4-8 weeks with an additional 4 weeks possible.