Program Description | Application | Placements | Sites | Housing | Stipend | Transportation

Program Description

What is RUOP?

It is a 4-week elective, immersion experience. Plan to spend the entire 4-weeks on-site in your RUOP community working with a primary care physician in an underserved area. RUOP is not graded and there are no formal assignments. No credit is given for this experience.

The program objectives are to:

1. Provide students with early exposure to the challenges and rewards of practicing primary care medicine in a rural or urban underserved setting.

2. Promote in students a positive attitude toward rural and urban underserved community medicine.

3. Provide students with an opportunity to learn how community healthcare systems function.

What is RUOP iii-3?

This is a six credit elective course in community health that coincides with the RUOP clinical experience. This course fulfills UW SOM’s Independent Investigative Inquiry requirement.

Through community interviews and a demographic analysis, you will identify a public health concern(s) and examine the issue within the context of your RUOP community. You will then look at the literature to see what interventions have proven to work in other communities. Finally, with the collaboration of community members and your research mentor, you will translate these findings into a culturally appropriate and realistic community health plan.

Can students do RUOP without the iii-3 portion?

All TRUST students are expected to complete the RUOP iii-3.

When can I do my RUOP?

RUOP rotations begin:

  • June for RUOP only student
  • July for RUOP iii-3 students

Most students will be notified about their dates by May

Does my RUOP have to be four continuous weeks?

Yes. Your RUOP must be four continuous weeks. If you are RUOP only and not completing iii-3 credit, it may be possible for you to arrange a non-continuous rotation. This would require advance permission from the Regional Clinical Dean, the RUOP Office, and the site.

Can I do RUOP and a Scholarship of Discovery?

No. Unfortunately there is not enough time during the summer experience block to do both.

How can I learn more about anything related to RUOP?


How do I apply?

To apply to the program you will need to complete the online application.

What if I need to update my application after it is submitted?

Application updates are always welcome. Contact Brenda Martinez at

Will I be able to block out some dates that I cannot participate in RUOP?

No. All students who agree to participate in the program must be available to do their rotation.

What is the last day I can commit to RUOP?

Last day in February. We are not able to provide student with their placement location in advance of the commitment date.

Can I drop from RUOP once I commit to the program?

No. Each community placement takes RUOP and our partners several months of planning. After committing to RUOP, only under extenuating circumstances, will you be allowed to drop from the program. Learning about other summer opportunities or disappointment over your community placement will not be an acceptable reason for a late drop.

If I’m applying to a program outside of the University of Washington in addition to RUOP, do I still need to commit by February 28, 2019?

Yes. You will still need to commit to RUOP by the February 28th deadline. In some cases, that may require you to make the decision to commit to RUOP without knowing if the other program has accepted you. If you decline RUOP in hopes of getting accepted to another program and you end up not getting this opportunity, you can check back in with us about availability. We cannot guarantee your placement, but will make every effort to place you.

Do TRUST students need to apply?

Yes. The same timeline applies to TRUST students. Be sure to indicate on the application that you are a TRUST scholar.


How are placements made?

There are two steps to determining student placement:

On the application form, you will rank a list of six geographic WWAMI regions in order of preference. Based on regional capacity and your preferences the RUOP office will assign you to one of the six WWAMI regions.

After you have been assigned to a region, your application will be forwarded to the appropriate Placement Coordinator for that region. Your Placement Coordinators will review your application and consider your interests. They will then determine appropriate placement based on their preceptor availability for their region.

Who are the RUOP Placement Coordinators?

These are our regional partners who help with coordinating your placement in one of the six WWAMI regions (Eastern and Western WA, WY, AK, MT, ID). Your Placement Coordinator will inform you of your placement and discuss transportation and housing issues with you.

Do I get site preference if I am enrolled in a Pathway?

Pathways may give credit to students participating in the RUOP iii-3 program. The RUOP iii-3 program attempts to place Pathway students in communities that allow them opportunities to further explore their areas of interest. However, due to site availability and/or other logistical considerations, this is not always possible. In these events, all Pathway programs have contingency assignments. Please check with your individual pathway program for details.

What if I can only be placed in one specific community?

RUOP will do their best to place you in that specific community, but we cannot guarantee a placement. Students with this specific need should prepare a back-activity in the event RUOP is unable to find a placement.

If I’m not from University of Alaska Campus, do I have a good chance of being assigned there?

It is unlikely. Unless you have strong ties to the region, it is best if you do not rank Alaska first on your application.

RUOP Sites

Where are the RUOP sites?

RUOP sites are communities in any of the five WWAMI states: Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho.

Is there a list of RUOP sites?

No. Each year we recruit volunteer preceptors. Therefore we do not know the participating sites until late spring.


Do I need to find my own housing?

If indicated on your application, RUOP and regional partners will work to provide housing for you during the RUOP experience, at no additional cost to you.

Can I bring a family member?

RUOP supports bringing family with you on rotation. Placement Coordinators will attempt to make arrangements for your family. However, it will depend on what the community has available to donate. Therefore we cannot guarantee housing for family members. Whether or not donated accommodations for accompanying family are secured, RUOP is unable to provide reimbursement for any costs related to family accommodations and/or travel.

What if I have allergies or need other special housing accommodations?

RUOP will make every effort to accommodate students. Students will have the opportunity to describe any housing needs on their application

Can I stay with friend or family during my RUOP?

Yes. Indicate on your application places you can stay during your RUOP.

Can I bring my cat?

Pets are not allowed to accompany you on your RUOP.

Who is responsible for housing damages?

Students are responsible for any damages beyond the normal wear and tear to their housing arrangement.   Students should leave their housing clean and similar to how they found it.

Who notifies me about my housing?

The placement coordinator in that region you are assigned will contact you with this information in advance of your rotation.


Does RUOP provide transportation?

RUOP pays for your travel to and from the RUOP site. Your regional Placement Coordinator will reimburse student travel expenses. The program does not pay for travel during the RUOP rotation.

Do I need a car if I’m going to a rural community?

Rural placements frequently work best with a car. Placements in Alaska are an exception to this rule.