The Community Integration Program (CIP) was created as part of the Rural Clerkship Program to expose Rural Scholars to rural culture and health disparities through service learning.

The CIP more fully integrates Rural Scholars into the community in order to enhance their knowledge about the community where they are assigned to work and live in an effort to further influence students to return to rural areas to practice; complement their clinical education through service learning activities; and demonstrate the importance of community service through active participation and self-reflection.

The goals of the program are to:

  • Establish a stronger community-campus partnership
  • Assist the communities to better serve their citizens
  • Discover the health and quality of life concerns within the community
  • Promote medical student understanding of the social and public purpose of the profession
  • Promote the ethic of service as an integral part of professional practice
  • Give students greater responsibility for their learning
  • Impact local issues and local needs

CIP is a required program for Rural Scholars.

Students identify and research community health needs and develop, implement and evaluate the impact of their project in meeting the needs of the community. Student projects span four to six months. Students are excused from clinical rotations for a total of 16 hours per month. Past student projects include:

  • A smoking cessation program
  • CPR and first aid certification
  • Expanding Your Horizons, a class for seventh- and eighth-grade girls exploring careers in math, science, and technology
  • Improving the quality and accessibility of health care among the community’s homeless population
  • Empower Me 4 Life, a healthy lifestyles class for fifth- and sixth-graders
  • Clean Air St. Joe, a 5K to promote the dangers of secondhand smoke
  • A bilingual health care careers fair at a middle school
  • Be the Match, a bone marrow drive

What Students Say

Here are what some CIP participants had to say about their experiences.

  • “The Community Integration Program really does make you feel more rooted in the community you’re practicing in as part of the rural scholars program.”
  • “CIP helped me learn about the role of a physician that extends beyond the office.”
  • “Rural physicians have a unique opportunity to impact the community in a variety of ways but also have a tremendous responsibility, as they are always seen as a doctor above and beyond a member of the community.”