The Rural Health Professions Program was developed in response to a mandate from the Arizona State Legislature in 1996. The legislators' aim was to encourage graduates of Arizona's only medical school to practice in smaller Arizona communities where there are physician shortages. RHPP began in 1997 at the University of Arizona College of Medicine with members of the Class of 2000.
By providing community-based training for health professions students, RHPP helps prepare a culturally-competent healthcare workforce for practice in Arizona’s rural and urban underserved communities, where significant primary care provider shortages are felt more acutely.
The program has grown to encompass 60 practice sites in 41 communities across Arizona where students spend a minimum of 11 weeks in residence throughout their medical education. RHPP now has many rural preceptors who were in the program themselves when they were medical students at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.