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Home of Rural Medicine

It’s no secret that Alabama is a rural state. In fact, only four metropolitan areas can be said to be totally urban. One of the greatest challenges of our state is how to meet the pressing medical needs in rural areas.  And one of the greatest secrets in our state is that practicing rural medicine provides physicians unique rewards both personally and professionally.

So, what is it about being a rural family physician? To begin with, he/she uses a solid medical education and continues to build on it to appropriately and creatively care for patients. But just as important is how the rural physician is a trusted leader who makes a meaningful difference in the community.

If you’re interested in meeting the medical needs of entire families from birth to death; in being a welcomed and respected member of your community; and in establishing a real home-town fit for you and your family, you owe it to yourself to contact us to explore this unique field of medicine.

The mission of the Rural Medicine Program is to develop primary care doctors for rural Alabama. This is done via a rural medicine track that begins with career presentations in rural high schools, provides an internship program for rural college students, administers a special Heersink School of Medicine curriculum for rural students (the RMP), and supports the Integrated Residency for the UAB Huntsville Family Medicine Residency.

What is OFHER?

The Office for Family Health, Education and Research provides an infrastructure where opportunities for research in education, policy, clinical medicine and other scholarly works in primary care can flourish. The office produces and disseminates practical clinical information to primary care physicians, coordinates and conducts studies that deal with the health care education of primary care physicians and families, as well as the broader issues of state health policy, health access and health manpower. The office currently manages the Project to Recruit Rural Medical Students, a program that is based on the “pipeline” concept for recruiting rural students into the medical profession, the Huntsville Rural Pre-Medical Internship and the Rural Medicine Program. Areas of interest for the office include primary care education, health access and health policy.

Contact OFHER

John V. Irle, MD
RMP & HRPI Director

Heather Crow
OFHER Director

Paula Clawson
Program Administrator

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Support the critical work of our faculty, staff, and trainees so we can continue providing the highest level of care to our patients and make breakthroughs in research and discovery.