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Rural Programs

Quillen College of Medicine

Introduction to Rural Primary Care Track

Years of hard work, and a lot of studying, paid off for dozens of graduating medical students across the county.

You can just imagine the anticipation and nerves, as ETSU Quillen College of Medicine students opened up their "match" letters Friday, to find out where they will be going for residency training.


Carter County Mountains
The East Tennessee State University Rural Primary Care Track (RPCT) is a 4-year community-based experiential curriculum whose core goals emphasize community, rural culture, interdisciplinary team interactions and leadership development. Rural Medicine is at the very heart of the mission of the Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University.
The Quillen COM is ranked 8th in the nation for excellence in rural medicine education by U.S. News & World Report in its Americas Best Graduate Schools 2015 edition. For several consecutive years, ETSU has been ranked among the top 10 schools in the country for rural medicine. U.S. News also ranked ETSU in the top 25% of medical schools for primary care education. The National Rural Health Association this year bestowed the Outstanding Rural Health Program of the Year award upon the Community Partnerships for Health Professions Education Program at ETSU.
  • Began in 1992 in Johnson and Hawkins counties, as a result of a grant by the Kellogg Foundation and continues as a key initiative at ETSU.
  • Comprised of health science colleges (medical and undergraduate nursing, public health students) in interdisciplinary teams.
  • Experiences are community / patient-oriented with lots of time for feedback and discussion by rural faculty.
  • Teaches community-based participatory research, community assessment, program planning & evaluation skills.
  • The educational experiences occur in rural communities located approximately a one-hour drive from the main campus.
  • Available to all students who have been admitted to the James H. Quillen College of Medicine.
  • This program is ideal for students who prefer early rural clinical and community experiences.
  • 74% of Rural Primary Care Track students are from rural counties.

The Meyers

Of the medical graduates who have completed the RPCT curriculum:

  • 78% have chosen primary care residency training.
  • 48% chose to stay in Tennessee for residency training

Reflections on the RPCT experience from David Meyer, 2010 Quillen graduate click here.

Of the first 25 Rural Primary Care Track graduates who have completed their residencies:

  • Twenty (80%) are now in practice in towns of less than 25,000 persons.
  • Thirteen practice in Tennessee.
  • Five practice in rural counties in Kentucky, North Carolina,Virginia, and West Virginia.
  • Four are members of the ETSU faculty.


Online application form for the Rural Primary Care Track.

For additional information about RPCT or any of our Programs contact Joseph Florence, M.D., Rural Programs Director, or Carolyn Sliger, Rural Programs Coordinator, ,(423) 439-6737.

RPCT, Division of Rural Programs, Department of Family Medicine, James H. Quillen College of Medicine
East Tennessee State University, P O Box 70621, Johnson City, TN, 37614.

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