Rural Surgery Rotations and Diversity Program for Visiting Students | Department of Surgery

Rural surgery rotations

OHSU has a long-standing interest in training general surgeons to serve in rural communities. To that end, two rotations exist for senior-level residents to better prepare them for rural surgery. The first of these rotations was established in 2003 in Grants Pass, Oregon at the Asante Three Rivers Medical Center. Each year, two residents in their clinical fourth year have the opportunity to spend twelve months in Grants Pass, working with general surgeons and gaining exposure to a wide range of surgical disease, including general, vascular, urology, OB/GYN, and orthopedics cases. The Grants Pass community, with a population of 80,000, is located in Southern Oregon and provides residents with the experience of small town life and work as a rural surgeon. Residents continue to participate in educational activities via remote access to didactic lectures, and gain valuable operative experience, often accruing over 1,000 cases in one year.

In 2014, a second rotation was established in the coastal town of Coos Bay, Oregon. Based on the success of the Grants Pass rotation, and with growing resident interest in rural surgical training, two fourth-year residents rotate at the Bay Area Hospital for six-month rotations. Serving primarily the neighboring towns of Coos Bay and North Bend, with a joint population of 25,500, the hospital also serves as a referral center for the entire rural South Coast. At their time there, residents gain extensive exposure to general surgery, endoscopy, minimally invasive surgery, and other surgical subspecialties.

OHSU Diversity Program for Visiting Students

Full-time fourth year medical students are invited to apply for a sponsored four-week rotation with the Department of Surgery general residency program.

Applicants must express an interest in applying to the OHSU residency program and identify with at least one of the following: grew up in a rural community, are part of an underrepresented minority group, or have experienced significant disadvantage or adversity.

  • Enhance student awareness of opportunities in academic medicine at OHSU and in Portland
  • Increase the number of diverse students applying to OHSU’s Residency Programs
  • Provide mentoring and networking for diverse students


All participants will be assigned a faculty advisor/mentor and be offered opportunities to network with other OHSU housestaff and students.

Financial assistance

A stipend of $1,200 will be awarded to cover room and board and transportation during the rotation at OHSU.

  • Successful applicants must have demonstrated personal experience or interest in diversity, health disparities, or serving underrepresented populations.
  • Applicants should meet one of the following criteria: grew up in a rural community, are part of an underrepresented minority group, or have experienced significant disadvantage or adversity. 
  • The rotations are four weeks in duration and are available, space permitting, to full-time fourth-year students who are in good standing in an LCME-accredited U.S. medical school.

Interested applicants must apply through the Visiting Student Application Service (VSAS) and provide the following additional items:

  • Letter of Endorsement from related Core Clerkship Director, including details on the student’s qualifications for the Diversity Program
  • Student letter of intent as to his/her qualification and desires for participating in the Diversity Program
  • Demonstrated excellent to outstanding performance in the related third-year clerkship (exceptions considered)