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City of West Plains hosts MU Rural Immersion Program

The City of West Plains recently welcomed 20 medical students participating in the University of Missouri’s Rural Immersion Program. The Rural Immersion Program is a four-day experience for students in healthcare professions interested in living and working in a rural area. The program is designed to highlight the social and communal aspects of rural life. Through group activities and meetings with community leaders, participants received a preview of life as a rural healthcare professional.

“West Plains was thrilled to host the MU Rural Immersion program,” said West Plains Planning Director Emily Gibson. “It’s exciting to have the opportunity to host a program that highlights the impact and opportunities of living in a community such as ours.”

By participating in the Rural Immersion Program, students from medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, physician assistantship, and nursing experienced working with other healthcare professions in a collaborative environment. The experience is designed to provide students with the opportunity to explore the non-clinical aspects of life as a rural provider.

The twenty students broke into four groups, each focusing on a different aspect of rural America: business, natural resources, education, and healthcare.

The groups spent four days meeting with professionals, taking tours, learning local history, and enjoying the Ozark’s natural beauty. The program culminated with the groups giving presentations on what they learned.

The groups enjoyed their stay in West Plains. “This has been an invaluable experience and we have learned so much,” said University of Missouri nursing student Maddison Breid.

“We appreciate the support of our community members, businesses and organizations for helping make this a first-class experience for these students,” said Gibson.

Schools participating in the Rural Immersion Program include MU School of Medicine, MU Sinclair School of Nursing, ATSU Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, St. Louis University School of Medicine, UMKC Physician Assistant Program, UMKC School of Pharmacy at MU, and ATSU Missouri School of Dentistry and Oral Health.

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