Rural Scholars Program

Developed in 2004, the WVU Department of Family Medicine Rural Scholars Program offers qualified students a unique opportunity to experience Family Medicine from a new and personalized perspective. The program goal is to identify students early in the medical school curriculum who are committed to a continuum of training that will enhance their ability to practice Family Medicine in rural West Virginia. Selection of scholars occurs in the third year of medical school and allows for a more intensive Family Medicine experience in the fourth year. Following graduation from WVU School of Medicine, scholars matriculate directly into the Family Medicine Residency Program at WVU Morgantown where they pursue an enhanced three-year curriculum.

This residency training focuses on developing clinical, management and leadership skills that will best prepare the scholar for a successful rural/small town practice.

Funded, in part, through the generosity of the Claude and Stazie Rader Fund of the WVU Family Medicine Foundation, the Rural Scholars Program rewards accepted students with a generous $10,000 scholarship that is payable upon completion of the fourth of medical school. In return, students are committed to continuing their residency training in Family Medicine at WVU Morgantown and beginning practice in West Virginia. Applicant requirements include a strong commitment to rural Family Medicine, demonstrated leadership and scholarship during medical school, strong clinical and interpersonal skills, and a keen understanding of rural culture.

Advantages of the Rural Scholars Program are numerous and include the following:

  • Reward and recognition for interest in Family Medicine
  • Early acceptance into a dynamic and well-established Family Medicine Residency
  • Ability to commit to personal plans knowing that training will continue beyond medical school in Morgantown
  • Entry as a third year student into “the Family of Family Medicine at WVU” with full access to educational, administrative and social support
  • An enhanced fourth year Family Medicine curriculum with three one-month courses designed to build skills in the areas of community health, wellness promotion, patient education, outpatient management, clinical assessment, and acute and chronic illness management
  • A Family Medicine Residency experience that includes specific opportunities to develop skills in practice management, leadership development, community health, emergency medicine, acute trauma management, and rural medicine procedures
  • Substantial monetary support that can offset educational debt and can be paired with other local, state and federal loan repayment programs
  • A supportive and personalized learning environment that spans more than four years and provides for professional growth and mentorship


Admission to the program is competitive and requires completion of an application, a personal statement of commitment, letters of support and a personal interview. Applications are available through the Department of Family Medicine. At this time, a minimum of two scholarships per year are offered.

Applications are due by January 15th with announcement of winners on or about February 15th. Scholarship recipients are formally recognized at the Departmental and Medical School level in the Spring of each academic year.  

Program Brochure