Rural Observation Experience

The Rural Observation Experience (ROE) is a 2-3 day shadowing experience with a rural family physician.  Students see first-hand the rewards and challenges of rural medicine. 

Any incoming first-year medical student at the University of Minnesota Medical School, Twin Cities campus, may apply. There are no prerequisites and all students who apply will be placed (depending on ROE site availability).

2018 Dates:

  • Student Application due in June 2018 (exact date TBD)
  • Student notification of placement: by July 2018 (exact date TBD)
  • Orientation: July 2018 (exact date TBD) from noon-1:00 pm (in-person) or July 2018 (exact date TBD) from 2:00-3:00 pm (online)
  • ROE Program Timeframe: 2-3 days, between July 7th-30th, 2018
  • Debrief: September 2018 (exact date TBD)

Students in the ROE are matched up with a physician at a clinic in rural MN. The student will shadow the physician at the clinic, on rounds, or at the hospital and nursing homes. The student and the physician will negotiate the length of the ROE experience; a 2-3 day experience is typical. Students are provided room at the physician’s home or in the hospital and become involved with the social life of the community. Participants will only need to provide their own transportation and meals.

*Participants in 2018 must be able to commit to the July 2018 Orientation (either in-person or online). Participants also need to be available to spend 2-3 days at the assigned clinic between July 7th-30th, 2018, before the start of Medical School.

What students are saying about ROE

"[ROE is] a great opportunity to learn about the difficulties and rewards of being a small town primary care physician.“

“I had a great preceptor and the exposure to rural medicine through observation was a positive influence on my decisions about my future practice.”

Things students liked about ROE

“learning about clinical practice”

“observing labor and delivery“ 

“meeting the physician's family”


If you are interested in participating in the 2018 Rural Observation Experience (ROE), apply online:

ROE Application - 2018

Or you may contact the RPAP Office at 612-624-3111 or e-mail: