Banner Tracks and Specail programs_University

| Academics | Tracks and Special Programs | Rural and Wilderness Medicine Track


Available on both campuses

Student physicians who have a strong desire to practice rural medicine will find themselves shaped into well-rounded, compassionate, and competent healthcare leaders when participating in the RWM track.

This course is jam packed with all the diverse training a physician will need to work in a remote setting, with possibly limited tools at hand, and includes a robust extracurricular education of procedural skills in medicine and surgery. Students will have a variety of field experiences each semester including extensive emergent simulations.

The goals of the Rural and Wilderness Medicine Track are to identify and foster student interest in eventual medical practice in rural settings. Admission to the Rural and Wilderness Medicine Track should be considered to be a 3.5-year commitment for accepted students. In addition to the unique educational opportunities, there are significant obligations associated with the track in the first 1.5 years, as well as in the clinical years of training. To be considered for the program, students must demonstrate a commitment to rural and remote practice and be capable of handling the extra workload required by the track. Admission criteria includes an in-person interview by R&WM students and faculty along with a review of applicants’ grades and overall academic status.

Training and experience above and beyond the standard medical school curriculum are necessary to produce physicians who have the confidence and skill to practice in rural and remote regions. Participants will be given a robust extracurricular education of procedural skills in medicine and surgery that will better prepare them for residency training and practice. The instruction format for this track is primarily clinical and will be taught by instructors with years of practical experience in the field. Students in the Rural and Wilderness Track will be expected to participate in off-campus activities. These activities will be highlighted and detailed in the appropriate track syllabi. The track will also cover preventive medicine and public health subjects.

Physicians practicing in a rural or wilderness setting must be skilled in stabilizing and transporting critically ill and injured patients to urban medical centers. Much of the track material will cover life and limb-threatening emergencies. During the first 1.5-years of medical education, this training will occur using simulators, cadavers, and shadowing opportunities. During the clinical years, students will train with rural-based medical preceptors in offices, rural critical-access hospitals, or rural health clinics for a minimum of four clinical externships.


Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine has developed several specialized educational tracks and programs to further develop the education of interested students. These range from 3.5-year-long tracks to single-semester elective courses.

Student research/scholarly activity is a vital part of health provider education. Research enhances critical thinking skills and increases medical knowledge, as well as preparing students for graduate medical education. Therefore, all students are encouraged to participate in research activities while at RVU.

During their third and fourth years of medical school, students work on clinical externships, under the guidance of preceptors. RVU students have externships available to them through Colorado and the other Mountain West states.