Program Description

CRISP is a comprehensive program that focuses on rural medicine throughout medical school. Rural elements are then embedded in the medical education through mentorships, seminars, research, and electives. Required clerkships lay the foundation for developing skills necessary to succeed as a rural practitioner. Graduates are expected to practice in an eligible community in Iowa for a minimum of five years after they complete a qualifying residency.

CRISP Curriculum

Establishing Community Connections

Shadowing experience with a physician in a rural community:

  •   2 days during M1 year


Students are matched with a physician mentor throughout the four years of the medical program. Interactions will include shadow experiences and discussions regarding career planning, especially during the final year of medical school.

Medical Education in Community Orientation (MECO) program:

During the summer after the first year, students will participate in a Medical Education in Community Orientation program in a rural setting. In this program, students are immersed in the medical community, spending 4 – 12 weeks in an Iowa community hospital observing and working with physicians.

Field Experience:

Students will participate in field experiences in rural medicine including relevant public health concerns in rural medicine.

Ensuring Classroom Relevance

Small group sections:

CRISP students will work in small group format with faculty interested in rural medicine.

Relevant courses:

CRISP students will complete the Rural Health and Agricultural Medicine course.

Seminar series:

Each year, CRISP students will participate in the Rural Medicine Interest Group seminar series.

Building Clinical Experiences


CRISP students will complete 4-week clerkships at a rural site in both Primary Care and Family Medicine during the 3rd year. During the 4th year CRISP students will complete a 4-week Rural Medicine Elective clerkship.

Breadth of knowledge:

During the 3rd year, CRISP students will complete no fewer than 8 weeks of selectives in Dermatology, Ophthalmology, Radiology, Urology, Electrocardiography, and Laboratory Medicine.

Contributing to Medical Knowledge

CRISP students will begin a community-based project during their 2nd year of medical school. This project will continue through the 3rd and 4th year of medical school culminating in a Rural Capstone research project and presentation.

 Establishing Wider Professional Connections

During the 4th year, CRISP students will attend a state or national conference in rural medicine. Students will be encouraged to participate in such conferences throughout their education. The research projects completed by students may be submitted for poster sessions or presentation at such conferences.