North Carolina AHEC Program
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Kenan Rural & Underserved Medical Scholars Work Summers in Western NC

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine (UNC SOM) and the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC), through generous funding by the Sarah Graham Kenan Foundation, have collaborated to create a dynamic longitudinal program for students interested in rural medicine.

The purpose of this program is to ultimately increase the number of UNC SOM students seeking rural health careers in North Carolina and to provide financial support and enrichment experiences to sustain their decisions.

The rural scholars program provides participants the opportunity to commit to the UNC SOM’s Asheville longitudinal program. The longitudinal integrated curriculum utilizes a smaller number of dedicated teachers and a greater reliance on outpatient teaching. Students have more exposure to experienced practicing physicians and a much greater likelihood of seeing the same patients over an extended period of time and through the continuum of care. The Program offers a mentoring experience with a rural preceptor over the course of three years during the student’s medical education.

Kenan Scholar Locations 2013

Program Components:

Kenan Rural & Underserved Medical Scholars for 2013

Kenan Scholars 2013

Photo above: Left to right as described below, with Woodward seated.

Katy Sims is from Carthage, North Carolina and has a background in outdoor activities, biology, and Spanish. Sims stated that her life was dictated by the rooster’s crow, since she grew up in a very rural setting. This childhood experience of living in a rural area fostered Sims’ desire to practice medicine in a rural community. She is very dedicated to increasing the amount of healthcare opportunities available to rural citizens in Western North Carolina.

Brittany Papworth is from Hoffman Estates, which is a suburb of Chicago, Illinois, and has a background in environmental science and engineering. Papworth stated that she values the power of community and being connected with people within that community. She can imagine herself in a rural area and feels very drawn to serving rural and underserved populations in North Carolina.

Anne Cotter is from Middleburg, Virginia, a small town 50 miles west of Washington DC. Cotter has a background in biology, global health and emergency medical technology. She stated that she can see her career and life existing in a rural community and that is why she was drawn to this program.

Lindsey Rose is from Winona, Minnesota, a small town along the Mississippi River and has a background in public health and elementary education. Before attending medical school, Rose worked as an elementary school teacher in Rocky Mount, North Carolina and this experience made her extremely passionate about this program.

Yolanda Paylor is from Hillsborough, North Carolina and has a background in community service, Spanish, and theater. Paylor stated that she has a rural heart and her biggest concern is providing care for underserved populations. Through a research project she discovered that Western North Carolina showed a serious disparity in the number of available physicians and this is what made her interested in the program.

Gisselle Mani is from El Paso, Texas but spent time as a child on a ranch in Chihuahua, Mexico. She has a background in research, Spanish, and working with Latino communities. Mani stated that her interest in rural health comes from wanting to gain the ability to make the most out of available resources in order to treat people living in a rural area.

Rivers Woodward is from Franklin, North Carolina and has a background is outdoor activities, biology, comedy, and homeopathic medicine. Woodward stated that his dream is to gain the knowledge to work within the current health care system to create a practice that provides personal, high-quality, and integrative services to those in rural communities.