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In 2013, the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Medicine (UNC SOM), The William R. Kenan Charitable Trust, and Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) collaborated to create the Kenan Primary Care Medical Scholars Program (formerly the Rural and Underserved Scholars Program). With the selection of ten scholars in 2018, the program has, and continues, to support fifty-four students seeking to serve in areas of primary care in rural North Carolina. Learn more about the Rural Experience here.

In partnership with Southeastern Area Health Education Center (SEAHEC), and partners around central North Carolina, the Kenan Primary Care Medical Scholars Program now offers opportunities across the state. The ultimate purpose of the program is to 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.

Objectives and Goals of program: 

The Kenan Primary Medical Scholars Program inspires students from The University of NC School of Medicine to pursue rural, underserved patient practice in NC in primary care specialties. The KPMS Program supports to explore the unique complexities of patient care in rural North Carolina. Creating connections with communities, practices, and providers, resources and other like-minded individuals. To address the needs of our state population, the program aims to populate underserved regions with well-trained doctors to address health care disparities.

Program Components 

  • Cohort-based summer experience in a rural area of North Carolina
  • Didactic session learning
  • Honduras experience (optional)
  • Community Scavenger Hunt/Windshield and Walking Tour – summer
  • Community immersion project – summer

2021 Application Available here


Expansion Into Urban Experiences

The success of the rural experience program prompted an expansion to include scholars interested in urban underserved populations as well. Each of the opportunities offer a six-week summer externship giving students valuable hands on experience serving our most vulnerable populations in North Carolina.


For more information about the Kenan Primary Care Medical Scholars Program, check out the following pages: