Topics in Health and Human Services in Rural Communities
“FAMED 540”
Winter Quarter, 5:30 pm to 6:50 pm, Mondays
Classroom: Room I-132
Course Description
This course will addresses current issues in rural health. While it is directed toward students with interests in careers in clinical practice in rural communities, it will address public health and population health issues as well. This course is a follow-on to Conjoint 515: Interdisciplinary Health and Human Services in Rural Communities. It also builds on a rural health course (MEDS 560) offered at Montana State University for TRUST (Targeted Rural and Underserved Track) students. Conjoint-515 (and/or MEDS 560 for Montana students) is the prerequisite for this course. The course is specifically designed to enhance other educational experiences [including the Rural and Underserved Opportunities Program (RUOP)] for the TRUST students on the University of Washington campus. Other students may be allowed to take the course with permission of the instructor.
The course will explore various aspects of practicing medicine and living in a rural community. Topics addressed will include models of practice, rural health economics, community development, rural public policy and health reform, cultural competency, information technologies in rural practice, rural workforce, strategies for finding rural and evaluating practice opportunities, and other topics. A variety of pedagogies will be invoked including a case study, panel discussions, lectures, and a field trip to a rural community. To provide content and lead the class sessions, we will rely on University-based experts in rural health as well as on practitioners and other health professionals in the field.
A fundamental purpose of the course is to nurture the rural practice aspirations of the TRUST students. We believe that there is power in knowledge. We believe that if students have a firm grip on information (both experiential and intellectual) concerning rural practice, there are more likely to carry out their plans to work in rural America. The course will offer strategies for effective clinical practice thereby enhancing the satisfaction of a rural career.
Learning Objectives
On completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate enthusiasm (for rural practice) to colleagues, potential rural employers, family, and significant others.
  • Plan a search for a rural practice career.
  • Find additional resources for learning about rural clinical practice.
  • Demonstrate methods for engaging communities in planning and evaluating their health systems.
  • List the core functions of public health in rural communities.
  • List key areas of rural health research along with the current knowledge gained by that research.
  • Describe and analyze public policy initiatives that will have an influence on the practice of medicine in rural communities.
  • Describe the relationship between rural health systems and the economic well-being of the communities they serve.
  • Demonstrate cultural competency in working with and caring for patients and communities.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of health information technology in rural settings.
  • Describe models of primary practice and how they could be developed in rural settings.
  • Identify resources to enhance rural clinic practice.

Characteristics of Class Meetings
This class will meet once per week for approximately 80 minutes. There will be a variety of classroom activities including seminar-style discussions, interactive lectures, group activities, case studies, and panel presentations. In addition, the class will take a Saturday field trip to a rural community to observe the health system and to participate in a service-learning project.
Course Committee

Y. Ki Shin, MD, Faculty Director
Assistant Dean for Regional Affairs
Western Washington WWAMI
Email: shiny@uw.edu

Course Faculty
Ki Shin, MD
Peter House, PhD