“Community-based, not just Community-placed”
What – TRIP is a unique opportunity in clinical training wherein third-year Tulane medical students live and train for nine months in rural communities under the supervision of an experienced, practicing primary care preceptor. The principal preceptors, most of whom are family physicians, mentor students in professional and personal aspects of being a physician and guide the student’s clinical work with other physicians and health professionals in the community.
How – TRIP students learn clinical medicine, procedures, community health, and the business of medicine, all in a community environment that is like where most medicine is actually practiced. They experience full spectrum rural medical care as they provide continuity of care to patients and their families throughout the disease process; offer routine preventive services; follow patients through pregnancy, delivery and newborn care; and attend to dying patients and their loved ones. Students see patients in the clinic, hospital, emergency room, and nursing home settings, when enrolled in hospice, on home visits, and in the community. Each student is the only student in a community and therefore has a greater opportunity to get hands-on experience in a variety of procedures and specialties.
Tulane faculty visit TRIP students several times in their host community each year to oversee and evaluate the students, while also providing clinical education to the local medical staff.
TRIP was established as a pilot in 2010 with grant support to Tulane from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation as an innovative educational model designed to expose students to rural medicine and to encourage them to practice in rural areas. Modeled after the 40-year-old Minnesota RPAP program where over 1,000 students have participated in the program, the immersion model has been proven to work. RPAP graduates have entered rural practice and primary care practice in very high numbers while academically performing equivalently to the traditional track students.
Who – TRIP is for self-directed medical students looking for a hands-on community-based experience, and who are interested in family medicine, primary care, or general surgery and, particularly in a rural practice setting. All students, whether admitted to Tulane via the TRuMEd (Tulane Rural Medical Education) program or otherwise, may apply for TRIP.
Why – TRIP provides students with a strong foundation in clinical and communication skills and confidence in their professional role, and brings to life the ACGME’s competencies in patient care, medical knowledge, communication skills, professionalism, practice-based learning, and systems-based health care. The length of the experience allows time for students to become involved in the community, to complete a community health application project, to develop trusting and respectful relationships with physicians, clinic and hospital staff, and patients, to learn about the business of providing health care services, and to appreciate the rewards as well as challenges of small town medicine.
However, TRIP students learn more than just rural medicine. They and their families experience all aspects of rural community life by living in their host towns during the training period. Students become part of the community by joining local sport teams, drama clubs, bands, churches, and civic groups. Lifelong friendships and mentoring relationships will undoubtedly form through students' involvement in the host communities. TRIP students are encouraged to take advantage in their free time of all that Louisiana offers – our state’s unique culture and cuisine, music, festivals, and outdoor sporting activities.
For more information, contact TRIP via the Tulane Rural Outreach Initiative Tulane University School of Medicine, Department of Family & Community Medicine
The TRIP project is possible thanks to generous funding from organizations like the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation.
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