Native American Pathways Program

Are you searching for a way to give back to your community? Do you want to return to your rural tribal community after you finish school? Are you interested in a health-related career? Then the Native American Pathways Program can help you reach your goals!
The Native American Pathways Program is a student support program designed to identify, recruit, support, and graduate Native American students pursuing a medical/pharmacy degree. Our mission is to support Native American students who are completing medical/pharmacy school before going back to serve their rural tribal communities.

We are located in the University of Illinois Health Sciences Campus at Rockford. Our students participate in the Rural Medical Education (RMED) Program or Rural Pharmacy Education (RPHARM) Program, which means they complete Rural Health Professions (RHP) curriculum along with the traditional medical/pharmacy school curriculum. This prepares RMED/RPHARM students with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to be a rural health professional. Building on the RMED/RPHARM Programs’ “grow your own" models, we recruit Native American students who grew up in rural tribal communities and have the desire to return to practice in these communities upon finishing school.
The main focuses of the program are to:

  • Encourage Native young people to consider health professions careers as a way to give back to their communities
  • Advise Native premed students on best preparation methods for medical school and application process
  • Act as a student advocate
  • Help students find financial aid sources
  • Provide advising and social support during medical/pharmacy school
  • Develop and integrate Native curriculum into the RHP curriculum, emphasizing topics such as:
    • Contributions of Native medicine, the value of traditional medicine, cultural competency, health issues in Native communities

In addition, Native American students will participate in a 16-week (RMED) or 18-week (RPHARM) preceptorship and community-oriented primary care project (COPC) within a rural tribal community in their fourth year. Currently, we have preceptorships available in tribal communities in Northern California and Wyoming.
If our program sounds interesting, please do not hesitate to contact us! We’d love to send you more information or discuss how we can make your goal of serving your community through healthcare a reality. We look forward to hearing from you!

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

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