Native American Pathways Program

The Native American Pathways Program aims to identify, recruit, and support Native American students interested in a medical, pharmacy, or other health professions degree. We are housed in the National Center for Rural Health Professions (NCRHP) of the University of Illinois at Rockford. Building on NCRHP’s Rural Medical Education (RMED) Program’s grow-your-own model, we recruit Native American students who have the intent of returning to practice in their rural tribal communities upon finishing school. 
The main focuses of the program are to

  • Encourage young Native people to consider health professions degrees as a way to give back to their people
  • Recruit Native students for the RMED and RPHARM (Rural Pharmacy) Programs
  • Develop and integrate Native curriculum into the Rural Health Professions (RHP) curriculum, emphasizing topics such as
    • Native history and sovereignty, Native health issues, contributions of Native medicine, the value of traditional medicine, cultural competency/humility
  • Help students find financial aid sources
  • Connect students with other Native health professionals
  • Provide advising and social support during medical school

In addition, Native students will participate in a 16 week preceptorship and community-oriented primary care project within a rural tribal community in their fourth year.

For more information, contact:
Jenna Vater, Health Professions Educator
Native American Pathways Program
1601 Parkview Ave.
Rockford, IL 61107-1897
(815) 395-5703

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