Office of Rural Programs


Rural Underserved Opportunities Program (RUOP)

Program Overview

The Rural Underserved Opportunities Program (RUOP) is a four-week, elective immersion experience in community medicine for students between their first and second years of medical school. During their 4-week rotation, students live in rural or urban under-resourced communities throughout Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho (WWAMI). They work side-by-side with local physicians providing health care to underserved populations. Administered by the Office of Rural Programs, RUOP is a collaborative effort of the UW School of Medicine, WWAMI campuses and the Area Health Education Centers. It is also supported by the Washington and Idaho Academies of Family Physicians. For more information contact us at or see a list of contacts in our office.

Program Goals

  • Provide students with an early exposure to the challenges and rewards of practicing primary care medicine in a rural or urban underserved setting.
  • Promote in students a positive attitude toward rural and urban underserved community medicine.
  • Provide students with an opportunity to learn how community health care systems function.

How to Apply

You must apply in order to participate in RUOP. An online application link generally opens in early December of your first year in medical school and closes in early January. We highly encourage you to attend a III (Triple I) Information Session hosted by the Medical Student Scholarship office.

General Timeline

October – November: III Information Sessions
Early December: RUOP Applications open
First week of January: RUOP Applications closes
Second week of January: Notification of Regional/State Placements
Third week of January: Commitment deadline to RUOP
Mid-April: Notification of specific Site Placement and Credentialing requirements
May – June: RUOP Orientations (WWAMI-wide)
July – August: RUOP Clinical Experience

*Please note this is a general timeline and may change slightly from year to year.

Site Placement Map