Students who demonstrate a passion for a career in medicine serving people in rural or Native American communities, come to the Duluth campus for their first two years of medical education before finishing their final two years at the Twin Cities campus.

In this spirit, the Duluth campus necessitates all medical students complete a required curriculum that introduces both rural medicine and Native American health as one comprehensive course. The course, ‘Intro to Rural Family Medicine and Native American Health (IRFMNAH),’ is a collaborative academic experience where both missions elevate one another as the overlapping first-year course, along with Foundations of Medicine.

On Monday, October 11, our students had the opportunity to connect with practicing rural doctors, alumni, and local paramedics as part of the IRFMNAH course. Students are exposed to their first clinical side of medicine, learning how to elicit a concise, pertinent patient medical history, including small group discussions and a site visit to a rural Minnesota community. 

Thank you to our local rural partners, alumni, and leadership members for joining us! 

Dr. Kirby Clarke – director of the Rural Physician Associate Program (RPAP)

Dr. Deb Dittberner – practicing family physician in Alexandria, Minn., and current Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP) President. 

Dr. Jon Halberg – associate professor and medical director of the award-winning, innovative University of Minnesota Physicians Mill City Clinic. 

Joe Pulford – Paramedic for the Cloquet, Minn. Area.

3 Spotlight on Curriculum: Rural Family Medicine & Native American Health


4 Spotlight on Curriculum: Rural Family Medicine & Native American Health