Program Benefits

The Rural Health Scholars Program is an enhancement program geared to give students opportunities that will help them as they apply to graduate-level health care programs such as Medical, Dental, Pharmacy, Optometry, and Physician Assistant. RHS is a menu selection type of program. Multiple offerings can be chosen by students. Students have the option of getting SUU credit for some of the offerings. Weekly e-mails are sent to students giving them information about opportunities and tips and hints for the application process. Current health care articles e-mailed to students keep students informed about a variety of topics essential to pre-health students. Some of the activities available within the program.
How To Join To become a member of Rural Health Scholars, simply add BIOL 3000R to your DSU course schedule and complete an application. Add section 50 if you are new to the program or section 51 if you are returning to the program. This one-credit seminar course is an introduction to health care careers and the program overall. After completion of this course, students take seminars each semester they are in Rural Health Scholars in specific topics such as dental practicum, medical Spanish, and healthcare researchers.
  • One university credit (2 credits can count as upper division credits for graduation)
  • Designed to introduce students to various healthcare careers
  • Seminars include the human side of medicine, medical ethics, dental practicum, healthcare simulation, FQHC dental shadowing, public health , test preparation, and discipline-specific topics
Healthcare Exploration Seminars (can be taken for 1 unit –BIOL 3000 pass/fail credit) Designed so that guest speakers are not repeated over a two-year cycle. Presenters discuss career options, health care topics, test preparation and more.
Test Preparation
  • Seminar courses specific to content covered on entrance exams, such as verbal reasoning/reading comprehension and behavioural sciences
  • Free practice exams offered in a structured environment
  • Discount program with Kaplan Test Preparation Products
  • Includes assistance with the MCAT, GRE, DAT, OAT, or PCAT
Enhanced Advising In addition to each college advisor and academic advisors, RHS offers enhanced advising geared towards the parts of a student’s application not focused on academics.
Job Shadowing/Internships Community and regional connections allow us to assist students to find meaningful job shadowing experiences while jumping through the administrative hoops created by HIPAA, OSHA and other governing rules. Pharmacy/Optometry students can spend up to three semesters doing internships in corporate big-box offices, independent retail, and medical or hospital-based pharmacy/optometry. Dental students can spend time assisting chairside at the Cedar City Community Clinic or with private dentists, including specialists. Medical students have a wide variety of primary care and speciality care options.
BLS Certification Provided for RHS students at no cost. Multiple classes offered each semester.
Leadership Many opportunities for leadership are offered throughout the program. Opportunities exist within student club, which was recently named the DSU 2017 club of the year!
Research Independent research is required and/or preferred for most graduate health care programs. RHS provides presentations about finding research projects, connection with faculty-led projects, information about the off-campus research projects and some supervision for in-house research projects done through the Utah Center for Rural Health.
Lending Library A library with test preparation materials, career planning books, and application help are available in our office. Use of these materials can save students hundreds of dollars when purchasing materials to prepare for the MCAT/DAT/PCAT/OAT.
Mentoring Each student is assigned to a senior level scholar who is in the application phase. This relationship allows a one-on-one connection where individual questions can be discussed.
Private Tutoring Each semester Rural Health Scholars students are provided with a full tutoring list with contacts of DSU students who have excelled in pre-health courses. This tutoring is provided in a one-on-one environment to facilitate deep learning and individualized attention.
Community Service We keep an on-going list of medical and non-medical community service activities, including hospitals, care centres, clinics and many other options. Also, we work directly with AmeriCorps, an organization that provides scholarships to students engaged in their community. More information regarding AmeriCorps.
Cultural Immersion Experiences Several of these are offered each year. Usually, one week-long trip to the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Panama; as well as two week-long trips to Montezuma Creek, UT (a Navajo Community Health Center). These trips expose the student to a culturally diverse healthcare setting and allow opportunities for unique community service. See our 2018-19 trips here!
Maymester Application Workshop Applying to graduate programs is challenging and time-consuming. During the Maymester, a workshop involving several campus resources will allow the student to work on their application in a structured setting with advice and editing, listen to workshops on proper attire and assist them in getting their application in early, a true key to success. In addition, individualized assistance is available for the supplemental/secondary application process during the summer.
Mock Interviews Held during the fall semester that the students will be interviewing, this experience allows students to have some feedback on their interview skills and learn to develop them.
Thursday Lunch Bunch Students on the interview trail meet together and with an advisor for a free lunch each Thursday at the Red Rock cafe during the Fall semester. They discuss potential interview questions and provide feedback about particular schools.
Early Acceptance Program with Rocky Vista College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Direct partnership with RVUCOM allowing pre-medical students with high credentials to apply early for acceptance to this specific medical school
  • EAP program is specific to the Ivins Campus
For any more information about the program, please email us at