The 2016 entering students of the Rural Medicine Program (RMP) were awarded their first clinical white coats, a stethoscope and a book stipend on August 16, 2016, during a dinner at the East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika.

The RMP is a pre-matriculation year at Auburn University prior to entering UAB School of Medicine for students who were raised in rural Alabama. The program is designed to support and guide students who will return to rural Alabama as primary care physicians. The first class started in 2006 and to date 82% of the students who have completed all their medical students practice family medicine in rural Alabama.

This year’s class of 8 students will spend the 2016-17 academic year at Auburn doing course work that address the unique needs and experiences of rural Alabama and its residents. They will then enter the UAB School of Medicine for 4 years of studies which include emphasis on the medical needs of rural Alabamians.

The students, their undergraduate schools and hometowns are pictured as follows (left to right): Anmol Ahuja, UAB, Clanton; Morgan Read, Auburn, Wellington; Dusty Trotman, Univ. of Alabama, Rainsville; Joe McIlwain, Auburn, Tuscumbia; Sara-Elizabeth Cardin, Univ. of Alabama, Rogersville; Ben Chappell, Auburn, Alexander City; Alicia Williams, Fort Payne, Mercer Univ.; and Candace Clemmons, Auburn, Geneva.

White coat Class of 2021

 AAFP student officers .2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           The 2016-17 elected medical student leaders for the Alabama Academy of Family Physicians, left to right: Paul Strickland, Megan Gibson, Andrea Pittman, Daniel Weeks, Victoria Clay, C.C. Linder, Jessica Powell and Will Griffin.


Six UAB School of Medicine students were elected to student leadership positions for the 2016-2017 Alabama Academy of Family Medicine (AAFP). The election took place during the AAFP annual meeting at San Destin, Florida, June 16-19.

Officers are:

President, Daniel Weeks, MS4, UAB School of Medicine, Rural Medicine Program member, Huntsville campus;

Vice President, Andrea Pittman, MS2, UAB School of Medicine, Rural Medicine Program member, Huntsville campus;

Communications Chair, D. Paul Strickland, MS3, UAB School of Medicine, Rural Medical Scholars Program member, Tuscaloosa campus;

Communications Liaison Birmingham, Megan Gibson, MS2, Rural Medicine Program member, Birmingham campus;

Communications Liaison Tuscaloosa, Jessica Powell, MS4, UAB School of Medicine, Rural Medical Scholars Program member, Tuscaloosa campus;

Communications Liaison Huntsville, Will Griffin, MS3, UAB School of Medicine, Rural Medicine Program member, Huntsville campus.

Also, C.C. Linder, MS2 at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, was elected communication liaison for Mobile.

Victoria Clay, the immediate past President, presided over the elections. Ms. Clay is an MS3 in the Rural Medicine Program at UAB School of Medicine, Huntsville campus.

The AAFP membership includes more than 900 active family physicians and more than 430 family medicine residents and medical students. The chapter provides educational programming for its members as well as representing family physicians and their patients in the legislative, regulatory, and public arenas.

Rural Medicine Program students are tasked with returning to their high school alma maters to encourage students to consider careers as physicians. Justin Evans, MS-2, spoke at Pell City High School and the newspaper shared his message.

Pell City graduate Evans encourages students to explore, dream, discover

J. Evans in Pell City

Justin Evans spoke to Pell City High School students Friday about pursuing their passion.

Posted: Sunday, January 11, 2015 12:00 am | Updated: 11:14 am, Mon Jan 12, 2015.

By DAVID ATCHISON Home staff writer

PELL CITY – Former student Justin Evans returned to his high school Friday, delivering a message to the students – explore, dream and discover.

“I want to encourage ya’ll to go into medical school,” said the 24-year-old man, who is attending the University of Alabama in Birmingham School of Medicine. “There’s a shortage of doctors. We need more doctors.”

Evans said the medical field, especially a career as a doctor, provides people a job that is in high demand, providing the freedom to live anywhere. He said doctors provide a career opportunity for people to teach, help others and give back to the community.

Evans said he is attending medical school through the Rural Medical Program. The qualification is that the medical student grew up in a rural area and is willing to use their skill as a doctor in a rural area once they graduate.

He told students they would qualify for the program because they are from a rural area.

Evans said he understands why students would question whether they are smart enough to attend medical school.

“Everyone in this room could do it,” said the 2008 Pell City High School graduate. “I promise, if I can do it, you can do it.”

Evans told students it was a matter of believing in yourself and doing your best.

“Make good grades,” he said. “Try to do your best. If you don’t, all you are hurting is yourself.”

He said if a student is interested in becoming a doctor, they should shadow a doctor for a few hours to see what the job is like.

“I can’t stress the importance of this,” Evans said. “Medical schools want to see if you know what you’re getting into.”

He said it is also important for students to get involved with outside activities and actually get a part-time job, so they learn the value of hard work.

“A job teaches you work ethics,” Evans said.

Evans completed missionary work during one summer, and he encouraged students to travel and study abroad.

He told students that college is like a fresh start.

“You need to pick a college that is best for you,” Evans said, adding that students do not need to worry about getting out of their comfort zone. “If you want to be a journalist, you need to go to a school that has a journalism program. I can’t stress it enough -- choose a college that’s best for you.”

Evans graduated from Auburn University, where he majored in biomedical sciences before he was accepted to UAB School of Medicine. He is completing his second year of medical school.

April 5, 2016

The Alabama Rural Health Association has adopted a policy definition of Rural for Alabama. This policy brief was developed by ARHA President William H. Coleman, M.D. and researchers with the Office for Family Health, Education and Research (OFHER) at the UAB Huntsville Regional Campus. (Dr. Coleman is the director of OFHER). The ARHA Board of Directors officially approved this definition for the use of health policy in Alabama at its March meeting. This definition considers all areas except for those identified as being in "Urbanized Areas" as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as being RURAL.
The definition has been used by the 2016 Alabama State Legislature in language to revise the rural physician tax credit bill.  


William H. Coleman, Sr. honored by AAFP Congress of Delegates 

Dr. Bill Coleman, director
Coleman walsh of the Rural Medicine Program, was honored by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) with the Jack G. Walsh Award for Lifetime Contributions to Family Medicine.  This award is only given by AAFP when they wish to honor someone with a lifelong commitment to the promotion and support of Family Medicine.  Dr. Coleman was presented the award at the Annual Meeting of the AAFP Congress of Delegates in Washington D.C. in October 2014.

Two 3rd -year RMP Medical Students were appointed to leadership positions in the Residents & Students Section of the AAFP. 

Littrell MaryMary Beth Littrell , MS3 at the Huntsville Regional Medical Campus, is an AAFP Delegate to the AMA-Medical Student Section for 2014-15. 

Kaci Larsen, MS3 at the Huntsville Regional Medical Campus, isLarsen 2FMIG  Network Regional Coordinator for 2015 for medical schools in the southeast U.S.