Education at OHSU

Campus for Rural Health

Canoe - South Coast Lake
Canoe - South Coast

OHSU strives to become a national leader in innovative approaches for optimizing the health of individuals residing within the many rural communities of Oregon and beyond. Launched in 2015, OHSU’s Campus for Rural Health is one aspect of that vision that has now served over 1,100 multidisciplinary students, with several returning to practice in our communities after graduation.

The Campus has locations in Klamath Falls, South Coast and Northeast Oregon regions, offering a unique way for students to learn about the rural context of care through team-based clinical rotations, immersion in a community-based project, and collaborative student housing. OHSU is grateful for the many robust clinical and community partnerships who make our four goals possible:

  • Address community-identified needs through partnerships with the community;
  • Improve the population health of rural communities;
  • Foster authentic interprofessional learning opportunities for health professions students; and,
  • Strengthen the rural health care workforce in Oregon by training learners in a rural context of care.

Community driven

“We learn about social determinants of health, and health disparities around the country… But it is one thing to learn about such topics remotely and another to be immersed in a community and really feel it; to read the statistics online, and then to go into clinic and meet the patients who fit those statistics.” -OHSU School of Medicine Student

Multidisciplinary students are housed together while completing experiential training. Shared housing encourages students to form friendships outside of their profession and supports community exploration. Under the leadership of local OHSU staff and faculty and community partners, students gain experience living and working within a rural community, deepening their understanding of the rural context of health and health care.

Whether students choose to work in a rural community after graduation or remain in an urban practice environment, the lived experience gained through the Campus for Rural Health supports them in providing culturally appropriate care to patients living in rural areas, and enables them to become better patient advocates.

CRH sites offer a wide variety of both core and elective opportunities for medical, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, pharmacy, dental and dietetic human nutrition students. Core and elective courses vary between the sites, based on preceptor availability.

Students are encouraged to check with your school or program for a list of possible rotation options. For questions specifically about a CRH region, please reach out directly to the Site Coordinator for that region; listed on our Contacts page.

In addition to clinical rotations, students at Campus for Rural Health sites are concurrently enrolled in an interprofessional Rural Health Equity course. Students work collaboratively with faculty, community partners and each other to explore health and healthcare topics pertinent to rural communities. Curated articles and videos prepare students for class discussions, while learning activities, including a community project, facilitate the application of knowledge to clinical and community health.

Through a collaboration with OCTRI, Community Research Liaisons support the course by building community partnerships, assisting with project development, and ensuring best practices in research. Projects are selected for their ability to meet two primary goals:

  • To allow students to take what they’ve learned in the classroom and apply it to real-life community health concerns; and
  • To support rural communities in meeting self-identified health care needs.

The Campus for Rural Health collaborates with the School of Medicine Division of Continuing Professional Development and Oregon ECHO Network to facilitate delivery of CE and educational resources to rural providers and community members, in addition to offering ongoing support to rural clinical preceptors.

Rural clinical preceptors interested in accessing OHSU Library resources and/or preceptor training are encouraged to contact the regional Campus site contacts or the Manager for Operations and Education.

Campus for Rural Health collaborates with the following programs to further support pre-med and health profession education:

“I really enjoyed working with the pharmacy and physician assistant students. We discussed our day-to-day life in our careers and I developed a better understanding of what each student does. As health care professionals, we have the power to work together and improve people’s quality of life." - OHSU School of Dentistry Student