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Rural Health Scholarly Concentration

The Rural Health Scholarly Concentration offers students an opportunity to learn and engage with rural communities through public health research. The didactic coursework teaches students about community and behavioral public health issues and methods, preparing students for their scholarly concentration research project. The coursework and project are designed to prepare medical students for engaging with unique health issues faced by rural populations.


This concentration is only open to students at the Terre Haute campus. All concentration requirements can be completed online. The scholarly project work can occur in any rural community.

Curriculum and Timeline

Students completing the rural health concentration fulfill the same core curriculum as students in other concentrations. The didactic components provide a strong academic and experiential foundation in public health with a focus on rural health that is vital for completion of the core curriculum project and product. The journal club provides a platform for students to have longitudinal discussions about concentration-related topics with a cohort of students and faculty.

Students interested in doing both the Rural Health Scholarly Concentration and IMPRS program must choose an IMPRS project from the "Community Health Partnership and Education" track. Contact the co-directors listed below for more information.

Recommended Pathway

Students determine if a concentration pathway will fit in their schedule by contacting concentration co-directors. 

Scholarly Project Topic Examples

Students work with faculty to complete a project in a relevant topic based on student interests. Students are welcome to come up with their own project idea. Potential project topics include, but are not limited to:
    • Rural cancer screening
    • Barriers to care of chronic illness
    • Access to health care specialists
    • Rural issues with prenatal and newborn care
    • Special issues related to rural opioid use
    • Environmental exposures such as lead


    Ellen M. Ireland, PhD

    Clinical Assistant Professor

    Bio and Contact Information

    Robin L. Danek

    Senior Lecturer

    Bio and Contact Information

    MD Student News

    In their words: Scholarly Concentration Q&A with Rural Health co-directors

    Robin Danek, MPH, and Ellen Ireland, PhD, MPH, share details on the Rural Health Scholarly Concentration, which offers students an opportunity to learn and engage with rural communities through public health research.

    IU School of Medicine  |  Feb 11, 2019