ETSU launches new EQUIP program to increase pathways into rural medicine

Published 4:16 pm Wednesday, August 31, 2022

High school, college students from 29 rural counties are eligible to apply
JOHNSON CITY – East Tennessee State University’s Quillen College of Medicine announced a new program designed to create more pathways for high school and college students who are interested in careers in medicine to serve rural and underserved communities.
The college officially launched EQUIP (Extending Quillen to the Underserved through an Integrated Program), an initiative that seeks to identify and mentor students to become primary care physicians committed to rural and underserved medicine.
“Quillen College of Medicine has an exceptional history of increasing access to health care, specialty care and medical knowledge for our region,” said Dr. Tom Kincer, associate dean for Rural and Community Programs. “EQUIP is an exciting continuation of that mission, allowing Quillen to attract a more diverse student body and create a pathway that brings broader medical care coverage to all.”
Students in their junior or senior year of high school have an opportunity to participate in the Rural High School Medical Camp and college students prior to the second semester of their sophomore year who are from one of 29 designated counties of Tennessee, Virginia or North Carolina are eligible to apply for the new program.
EQUIP will enhance the student’s ability to successfully navigate the education, activities, testing and application process necessary for medical school admission. An integral portion of the program is the opportunity to develop relationships with Quillen’s faculty, staff and medical students.
“EQUIP harnesses two of Quillen College of Medicine’s greatest strengths, its faculty and its long commitment to serving rural and underserved communities, to literally equip future physicians to serve where they are needed most,” said Dr. Kimberly D. McCorkle, ETSU provost and senior vice president for Academics.
The program also includes a four-week summer experience, the Appalachian Preceptorship, for rising junior and senior college students, including one week spent on Quillen’s campus. During that week, students will have the opportunity to learn in Quillen’s classrooms, train in the simulation labs and experience the state-of-the-art anatomy lab. The remaining three weeks of the summer program will take place in the community, working alongside a physician and developing a community engagement project.
Students who complete EQUIP will be granted a guaranteed interview when they apply to Quillen.
“Last year, we had more than 3,800 applicants to Quillen College of Medicine, so a guaranteed interview is a strong start for students who participate in this program and dream of a career in medicine,” said Dr. Bill Block, ETSU vice president for clinical affairs and dean of the College of Medicine. “EQUIP is yet another way for Quillen to fulfill its mission and give prospective students the tools they need to reach their goals.”
There is no cost to be a part of EQUIP, nor to attend any EQUIP-sponsored activities. Space is limited to 20 high school students and 15 college students at each year level. Applications are now open. To learn more, visit

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