Davis named Alabama rural medical scholar

Published 9:17 pm Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Claire Davis, who grew up in Letohatchee, Alabama, is a 2014-15 University of Alabama Rural Medical Scholar with plans to attend medical school through the Rural Medical Scholars Program (RMSP).  RMSP is for rural Alabama students who plan to practice medicine in rural Alabama.  Alabama has an historic and ongoing shortage of family doctors and other primary care physicians (internists and pediatricians) in rural areas of the state.  Sixty-two of Alabama’s 67 counties are officially designated as completely or partially “Health Professional Shortage Areas.”

The Rural Medical Scholars Program (RMSP), which has been cited nationally as a model program for educating rural physicians, is a five-year medical education program for rural Alabama students leading to the M.D. degree.  The RMSP provides specialized training and field experiences plus a peer network between RMSP students and with rural doctors who serve as preceptors and mentors and RMSP physicians who have entered practice.

Davis, the daughter of Mr. And Mrs. William Davis of Letohatchee, Alabama, grew up in Lowndes County. She graduated summa cum laude from The University of Alabama (UA) in May 2013 with a B.A. in English and a minor in Computer Based Honors.  She worked under Dr. Patrick Frantom in the UA Chemistry Department for two years doing undergraduate research into enzymes and presented a research poster at the Southeast Enzyme Conference in Atlanta.  Claire earned her Master’s degree in rural community health at UA last year. She is a research analyst and a graduate research assistant at UA’s Center for Advanced Public Safety.  Claire has also enjoyed volunteering with special needs children in her hometown and in Tuscaloosa, made a medical mission trip to the Dominican Republic with the UA Community Service Center, volunteered with West Alabama Aids Outreach, and mentored local teens in teen pregnancy programs in Tuscaloosa City and County Schools.   She has shadowed family physician Dr. Lacy Smith in Centreville, and several Baptist Health System doctors in  Montgomery and Greenville, including  Dr. Rebecca Miller (OB/GYN), Dr. Stephen Davidson (oncology/hematology), Dr. David George (cardiology), and Dr. David McGowin (surgery). Claire plans to return to Lowndes County to practice medicine.

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Selection for the Rural Medical Scholars Program is based on a competitive application process open only to students from rural Alabama who wish to become rural physicians. RMSP includes a year of study leading to a Master’s Degree in Rural Community Health and provides early admission to the University of Alabama School of Medicine, which is headquartered in Birmingham