divider graphic

Project PROMISE (Providing Rural Opportunities in Medicine through Inspiring Service and Education) provides experiential learning opportunities for motivated rural high school students with a sincere interest in healthcare. PROMISE students can use the knowledge they acquire during internships, workshops, and summer camps to give back to their community. Program activities are designed to assist and inspire rural students to pursue health professions while nurturing in them a sense of pride and commitment to serving their rural communities.

Project PROMISE was started in the fall of 2014 by two medical students at UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine who planned to practice primary care in Western North Carolina. Originally supported by an Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, Project PROMISE is one of several initiatives led by MAHEC's Rural Health Initiative team to fundamentally transform health and the quality of life in our rural counties.

The Project PROMISE internship experience is designed for high school juniors and seniors who are interested in pursuing a healthcare career such as, but not limited to, a physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, dentist, pharmacist, or physical therapist. Internships are available to students from Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, and Yancey counties who are participating in a school-sanctioned internship for course credit.

This internship provides a minimum of 135 credit hours for up to three high school juniors and seniors from each eligible school. During their spring semester, students spend every afternoon in a clinical or healthcare-related setting learning from local practitioners in their community. These internships are carefully designed to provide students with the additional support and exposure that are vital for pursuing a career in healthcare.

Clinical Shadowing

Student interns have the opportunity to shadow healthcare professionals in a variety of disciplines and settings including

  • Ob/gyn
  • Pediatrics
  • Palliative care
  • Family medicine
  • Public health
  • Dentistry
  • Geriatrics
  • Physical therapy
  • Pharmacotherapy
  • Internal medicine
  • Wound care
  • General surgery

Additional Internship Components

  • Training in diversity, online research skills, HIPAA, OSHA, and professional etiquette.
  • Opportunties to participate in MAHEC programs focused on academic enrichment, college planning, service learning opportunities, and oral and written communication skills.
  • Mentorship by a third- or fourth-year medical student from the UNC School of Medicine Asheville campus who can provide guidance on preparing for a healthcare career.

Eligibility Requirements

Project PROMISE interns are mature, focused, responsible, dependable, and able to follow directions; need minimal supervision; and have good oral and written communication skills and a positive attitude. Applicants should be

  • rising high school juniors and seniors with a strong desire to pursue a healthcare career
  • interested in returning to WNC to practice
  • good students with a minimum weighted GPA of 3.0
  • registered in a Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, or Yancey county public school
  • recommended by teachers with excellent references
  • active in work and/or community service
  • able to access reliable transportation

Community-Based Focus

We believe that a sustainable workforce development program must be firmly rooted in the communities it serves. By engaging local providers as teachers and collaborating with local organizations, we are collectively investing in the success of these students and their rural communities.


For more information, or to request an internship application, please contact

Project PROMISE workshops are led by healthcare professionals and medical students in partnership with health sciences teachers and career and technical education (CTE) coordinators in rural WNC high schools. These hands-on workshops are currently available for students in numerous WNC counties; we are always expanding our program offerings.

Basic Suturing

Our suturing workshop introduces students to the anatomy of the skin and the different types of sutures and their uses. For the hands-on portion of this workshop, students are provided with suture kits and guided to perform a simple interrupted suture on a simulated skin model.

Basic Vital Signs

In this workshop, students learn how to take someone's temperature, weight, pulse, respirations, and blood pressure while they learn the importance of taking vital signs as a diagnostic tool and the clinical significance of abnormalities.

Blood Typing

Students explore the fundamental biological concepts of blood typing and how it relates to clinical reasoning. This workshop includes a blood typing activity in which students determine their own blood type with a kit and lancet.

Chief Complaint and History of Present Illness

This workshop walks students through taking a patient history⁠—including present illness and medical, family, and social history⁠—and identifying a chief complaint by asking appropriate questions. Students practice clinical reasoning skills using a case study to determine a standardized patient’s disease.

Point-of-Care Ultrasound (POCUS)

Students learn the history and modern uses of ultrasounds and how they are used in rural healthcare settings. This workshop includes live demonstrations by healthcare providers and an opportunity for students to use handheld ultrasound devices on themselves and their peers.

Pig Dissection

Instructors guide students through an anatomical dissection of a fetal pig to identify anatomical structures, the physiology of organ systems, and individual organs.


For more information or to request a workshop at your school, please contact or

More exciting camp opportunities coming in 2024!

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Rising high school juniors and seniors in WNC
  • Strong desire to pursue a career in healthcare
  • Minimum weighted grade point average of 3.0
  • Excellent references, based on teacher recommendations
  • Active record of work and/or community service


For more information, please contact or

divider graphic
arrow-up icon