In 2007, the Mississippi Legislature authorized the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program (MRPSP), creating a unique longitudinal program that identifies rural college students who aspire to return to their roots to practice medicine. Academic enrichment, faculty and physician mentoring plus solid medical school financial support through the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program will enable capable young Mississippians to address the challenge of Mississippi's health care crisis. Students can apply for the program as undergraduates or as admitted medical students.
To jump start the flow of primary care physicians in the health care pipeline in 2008, 10 UMMC School of Medicine students were awarded state funded scholarships valued at $30,000 for 2008-09. The number doubled in 2009-10. Ten more were added in 2010-11 and another 10 in 2011-12. With continued strong legislative support in 2015, MRPSP will award $1.8 million in state funded scholarship.In fall 2016, 64 medical students each received $30,000 for their studies in medical school through the combined resources of the Mississippi Legislature, Magnolia Health, the Medical Assurance Company of Mississippi, the Selby and Richard McRae Foundation and the Madison Charitable Foundation for a total of $2,100,000.MRPSP's three phases include: initial - prior to matriculation to medical school; medical school training; and generalist residency training. Maintaining a high level of awareness and involvement in Mississippi's rural health care is a constant in every phase of training. Channeling scholars into five primary care specialties (Family Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Medical Pediatrics or General Internal Medicine) will target the current rural physician shortage. MRPSP is good news for small town medicine! Each scholar embraces his or her small-town values and culture, sharing a common passion for making a difference through missionary zeal or maverick determination. The challenge of fully funding renewable scholarships each year remains.
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