RUOP – Rural/Underserved Opportunities Program

The Rural/Underserved Opportunities Program (R/UOP) is a program of the University of Washington School of Medicine (UWSM) in partnership with the WWAMI Programs and AHECs in Montana, Idaho, Alaska, Wyoming and Washington. R/UOP provides a four-week opportunity for students between the first and second years of medical school to be placed with a physician preceptor in a rural or urban underserved clinical site.


R/UOP encourages primary care careers in underserved communities by providing students with hands-on experiences in clinical practices; in addition to exposure to the rural or underserved community. Preceptors are practicing physicians in rural sites or urban clinics serving the underserved.


Physicians serving as preceptors are primary care physicians (Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Obstetrics/Gynecology and General Practice). The UWSM appoints R/UOP physicians as Clinical Preceptors – and – after two years of service as a R/UOP preceptor, physicians are eligible for appointments as clinical faculty at the UWSM.


In Montana, yearly R/UOP placements are organized by the Montana R/UOP Site Coordinator, Lisa Benzel, who is the Montana WWAMI Trust Program Director.  This coordination consists of matching the medical students with rural or underserved preceptors who have already been selected by the Montana WWAMI Clinical Dean, Dr. Jay Erickson.  With the assistance of all regional AHEC offices, housing and travel support is provided to the students.


For more information about R/UOP, visit:


WWAMI is a cooperative program of the University of Washington School of Medicine and the states of Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. It is a program which makes medical education accessible to students in the northwestern United States by decentralizing the educational process and by sharing existing facilities and personnel in universities and communities in the WWAMI states. Support of WWAMI by the State of Montana allows 30 qualified Montana residents to be admitted to the University of Washington School of Medicine each year.


For more information about WWAMI, visit: