Rural Health Experience

The Rural Health Experience (RHE) program is an innovative 3-5 day opportunity for health professions students to observe rural healthcare providers and their communities. The RHE program is based on the principles of experiential learning and community immersion.   

1) Learn about the social and health characteristics, needs, and resources of a specific rural community.

2) Understand the roles and responsibilities of different healthcare providers in a rural community.

3) Reflect on a future career as a healthcare provider in a rural community and potential interest in this location as a future career location.

Components of the RHE
1) Shadowing of practicing clinicians from various hospital departments including but not limited to: EMT/ER, physician, pharmacist, physical therapist, social worker, public health professional. 

2) Shadowing of tech level positions i.e. x-ray tech, ultra sound tech.

3) Meetings with administration and CEO, when applicable

4) Student attendance at an inter-professional team meeting, such as discharge planning, when applicable

5) Student report and program evaluation  


Target Audience
Undergraduate and graduate students, as well as professional students in health professions programs. Students must have completed sophomore year of undergraduate studies by the time of the RHE. Preference goes to students already in graduate or professional programs. Students must have strong interest in working in a rural community. 

Basic housing and meals are provided. Students must have reliable transportation while on site.


Applications are now available for Summer 2018 RHEs

The RHE is offered in the summer season. The Summer 2018 application is available HERE. 
Limited placements may be available during fall and spring seasons. 

In addition to the application, the following documents are needed to apply:

  • Two-page Personal Statement – should reflect why you are interested in learning about:
    • Other health professions
    • Rural immersion
    • Rural healthcare
  • Current curriculum vitae or resume
  • Letter of recommendation from a faculty instructor or advisor
  • $25 application fee. Checks can be made out to the University of Illinois

Early consideration deadline for Summer 2018 is Sunday, April 1, 2018


Summer 2018 Sites
Fairfield Memorial Hospital- Fairfield, IL
Katherine Shaw Bethea Hospital- Dixon, IL
Paris Community Hospital- Paris, IL
Pinckneyville Community Hospital- Pinckneyville, IL
SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital- Centralia, IL
Taylorville Memorial Hospital- Taylorville, IL
Warner Hospital and Health Services- Clinton, IL

Click here for the 2018 RHE BROCHURE. Click here for an example of a STUDENT SCHEDULE.

Questions? Contact:

Vicky Rhine, MPH
Assistant Director of External and Pipeline Projects | 815.395.5854.