Frequently Asked Questions
Can student live in Syracuse or Binghamton and commute to the RMED site?
All RMED students should plan on living in the community to which they are assigned. An important part of the RMED experience is living and working in the community.
What is RMED?
RMED enables students from the Syracuse and Binghamton campuses to complete up to 40 percent of their clinical training in community-based settings that include private offices and small rural hospitals. RMED students quickly become immersed in the delivery of primary care and develop long-term relationships with clinical preceptors and their communities.
How are students selected?
Students are selected by the RMED staff on the basis of satisfactory academic standing, interest in rural medicine, potential interest in eventually practicing in upstate New York, interest in primary care, and a judgement of the applicant’s maturity and ability to thrive in an independent learning environment.
How did RMED start?
RMED was established in 1989 to broaden the training experience of Upstate's medical students. The program also helps address the needs of medically underserved communities. Since its inception, 130 students have participated in the program. Of those who have completed their residency training, a dozen are practicing in RMED host communities, and 35 percent are practicing in upstate New York.
How are students matched with sites?
RMED staff assign students to teaching sites, taking into consideration student needs and preferences as well as academic interests.
Will I feel isolated in a rural community?
While "rural" implies a remote location, RMED sites are just small communities. The resort community of Canandaigua, for example, is a RMED community. Most RMED communities are within a two hours' drive of Syracuse.
Will I have access to up to date medical literature?
Each site is equipped with a personal computer, usually located in the host hospital medical library, which is provided by the RMED program. With the appropriate accounts the student can access Upstate’s Health Sciences Library electronic resources and the campus network just as if s/he were at a terminal in the library.
What makes RMED special?
Students perform in roles they otherwise might not experience until residency. They often have the chance to assist in surgery, perform and read CAT scans with radiologists, gain doctor feedback from patient write-ups, and confer one-on-one with specialists.
If I participate in the RMED program will I be at a disadvantage when I apply to residencies?
Most RMED students report that having participated in the RMED program was an advantage in the residency application process. Many family practice residencies are familiar with the RMED program and impressed with its students. Those applying to other specialties have indicated that the experience has helped them stand out from other applicants.
Is the RMED program only for those interested in practicing primary care medicine?
No. On the contrary, 35 percent of RMED students do not enter primary care medicine. However, they find the program supports their interest in specialties such as: otolaryngology, orthopedics, radiology, ophthalmology, urology, anesthesiology, geriatrics, emergency medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics and psychiatry.
How much elective time will I have available during and after the program?
Syracuse and Binghamton students typically complete 14 credits in required clerkships and 2 elective credits. Sufficient time remains after finishing the program to complete up to 10 additional credits prior to graduation.
Who chooses RMED?
RMED students tend to be mature self-starters who learn best in one-on-one relationships with faculty and patients. RMED students are able to create flexible programs that emphasize their own educational interests without signing up for electives.
Can I take an acting internship (AI) while enrolled in the RMED program?
Interruption of the RMED experience to complete one acting internship is permitted, with the exception of those planning to enter family practice residency.
How are RMED students evaluated?
Performance is carefully and continuously evaluated. Upstate faculty visit RMED students monthly to ensure a quality educational experience. During these sessions, the students make in-depth case presentations and receive consultations on difficult cases. The grading policy is consistent with the standard Upstate grading system. A total of 36 credits are earned in RMED. Each academic department offering credit through the program grades the students seperately. These grades appear on the student's transcript just as if the student had taken the course on campus.
Will I graduate on time if I elect this program?
Yes, RMED students graduate on time with classmates. Full academic credit is earned for this experience and at the conclusion of the program, students return to the Syracuse or Binghamton campus to complete their studies for the MD degree.
What about financial aid?
The financial assistance provided to RMED students consists of housing, relocations expenses, use of an on-site computer, and access to up-to-date medical textbooks in the host hospital's medical library.
Where do the students live while working in the RMED program?
Host communities provide housing for students, either in the form of a hospital-owned house or apartment, or by reimbursing the student for costs of renting an apartment.
Is there a computer connection?
Each rural training site has a computer link with Upstate through internet access provided by the host hospital. This allows the student a rich array of medical information, easy access to all clinical and administrative offices at Upstate, and connection with Upstate's campus network, including the Health Sciences Library.
Are there prerequistes?
Students are required to complete at least the medicine clerkship before entering the RMED progam. Other clerkships may be completed during the RMED program if approved by the department.
Aside from medical school tuition, will I incur any other costs?
No, however, you will need a car.
When do I apply to RMED?
Students apply in March of their second year. They begin the program in their third year. Applications are available online at http://www.upstate.edu/fmed/rmed/rmedapp/pdf or from the Department of Family Medicine.
Who are the instructors for the specialty rotations?
Specialists in the respective communities, who have been approved by the Upstate department sponsoring the course, teach specialty rotations. The sponsoring department provides curriculum material and determines evaluations methods.