Kenan Primary Care Medical Scholars Program

The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Medicine (UNC SOM) and the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC), through generous funding by the Sarah Graham Kenan Foundation, have collaborated to create this dynamic longitudinal program for students interested in rural medicine.

The purpose of this program is to ultimately increase the number of UNC SOM students seeking rural health careers in North Carolina and to provide financial support and enrichment experiences to sustain their decisions. The rural scholars program provides participants the opportunity to commit to the Asheville campus longitudinal program and a mentoring experience with a rural preceptor over the course of three years during their medical education. Applicants must indicate their interest during their first year of medical school at UNC Chapel Hill.

"Going where the need is greatest." Photo by Jeyhoun Allebaugh/UNC-Chapel Hill

Program Components

  • Six-week summer internship in Western North Carolina, working in a rural family practice with a preceptor and living in the community (summer stipend and housing assistance provided).
  • Weekly didactics in Asheville during the six-week summer internship on specific rural medicine topics.
  • A small project component during the summer internship offers an opportunity to collaborate on community projects or research with the preceptor site and/or exposure to ongoing MAHEC faculty, resident, and administrative research or programs.
  • The rural medicine curriculum is presented to scholars accepted into the program via monthly group discussions in Chapel Hill during the second year of medical school.



For more information, please contact
Benjamin Gilmer, Rural Scholars Director.

Read more about the Kenan experience
in Travis' story and Wesley's story.

To apply online, please visit the
UNC Rural Scholars page.

NOTE: Due to changes implemented as a result of COVID-19, we are currently prioritizing clinical shadowing experiences for students from affiliated schools and programs based on need and availability.