National Rural Health Association

2016 Policy Institute

Rural Medical Education (RME)

We are a small group with a big vision – geographically dispersed, ethnically and culturally diverse, each in our place uniquely challenged, yet together facing common political, economic, and academic obstacles. Therefore, our organization is designed to be doable and efficient, with a focus and a structure directed toward action. Central in this structure is an effective and committed core of individuals (Core Members). The efforts of this group in turn are embedded in a larger community of stakeholders in rural health. We recognize that our success is rooted in the health of our rural communities (including our Associate Members and Affiliated Organizations).


RME Org Chart

The structural goal of our organization is (1) to foster collaboration both among members and with a larger community of stakeholders, (2) to promote creativity and to generate new ideas in rural medical education, and (3) to remain uncomplicated and adaptable to changing circumstance.

Led by an Executive Committee with staff support from the NRHA, the Rural Medical Educators meet annually, generally in conjunction with the NRHA Annual Conference. This meeting serves as the anchoring event of each year’s activity. Additional activities are "spawned rather than sponsored" with the group fostering interaction through participation in a list serve and an e-Community throughout the year.


Medical School Rural Tracks in the US

Policy Brief, September 2013
Mark Deutchman, MD, in coordination with other researchers including members of NRHA’s Rural Medical Education group, surveyed 35 U.S. medical schools about their active or planned rural tracks (RT) to better understand what rural medical education looks like throughout the country. The brief looks at their admissions and processes, curriculum, administration and funding structures, and program outcomes.

Access the brief here.

This brief was funded through a cooperative agreement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, as administered by the National Rural Health Association (Grant U16RH03702).


Join the Rural Medical Educators!

Read the member type description below and download the survey application Excel file. Complete the Excel file and e-mail to Gabriela Boscan at

Core Member — "Voting Member"
  1. Must be a full member of the NRHA (Membership # required)
  2. Must be actively involved in rural premedical student, medical student, and/or resident education through teaching, research or advocacy
  3. Must complete and return a core membership dataset annually prior to the annual meeting
  4. Must participate in at least one national rural medical education related group meeting every two years (RME Meeting, NRHA Annual Conference, AAFP Committee on Rural Health, STFM Group on Rural Health, NAPCRG, AHEC Annual Meeting)

Download the core membership dataset survey to complete and submit

History of the Rural Medical Education Group

During a rural graduate medical education conference in February 2000, attendees proposed a medical education entity to be named the National Association of Rural Medical Educators (NARME). Members included physicians, rural medical education faculty and graduate program directors.

This membership evolved into the Rural Medical Educators Special Interest Group, an integral part of the National Rural Health Association's Research and Education Constituency. The RME special interest group combined the functions of program directors and faculty with the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine and rural family physicians to help recruit, train and orient medical students for careers in rural medicine.

The first annual meeting of rural medical educators was held in May 2001, in conjunction with the NRHA Annual Conference in Dallas. At this meeting, goals were established to address its development agenda for rural medical education.

The Rural Medical Educators have continued to meet each year in conjunction with the NRHA's Annual Rural Health Conference.

Rural Medical Education Executive Committee, 2013-2014


Past Co-Chair:

Maggie Blackburn. MD, Director of Rural Health at Florida State University College of Medicine. 


Senior Co-Chair:

Kathleen Quinn, PhD, Program Director, MU AHEC; Assistant Professor, Missouri University School of Medicine.


Junior Co-Chair:

Jay Erickson, MD, Assistant Dean, WWAMI Clinical Phase/Montana; Clinical Professor, University of Washington School of Medicine.


Member at Large:

Mary E. Barinaga, MD, Assistant Dean for Regional Affairs, Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine; Idaho WWAMI Medical Education Program, University of Washington School of Medicine.


Member at Large:

Mark Deutchman, MD, Professor of Family Medicine and Director of Rural Track, University of Colorado at Denver School of Medicine


Chair, NRHA Research & Education Constituency Group:

Michael French, Director, KCOM-AHEC; Adjunct Instructor, Preventive Medicine and Community Health for the Department of Medicine at A.T. Still University of Health Sciences.


Membership Chair:

Randy Longenecker, MD, Assistant Dean for Rural and Underserved Programs and Professor of Family Medicine, Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine; Executive Director, The RTT Collaborative.


NRHA RME Program Liaison:

Gabriela Boscan, MPH, Manager, Program Services, National Rural Health Association, Washington, D.C.


NRHA Government Affairs Liaison:

Maggie Elehwany, JD, Vice President, Government Affairs & Policy, National Rural Health Association, Washington, D.C.


Additional Links and Information

World of Rural Medical Education Web site

Rural Medical Education Curricular Resource

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