RURAL SCHOLARS COMMITTEE MISSION STATEMENT:
The Rural Scholars Committee was formed to coordinate proposed projects of the Health Council with the medical and graduate nursing students sent to us by the UMass Medical School. Any member of the Council is welcome to put forth a project for the Council to consider. When a project is chosen, it is presented to the Medical School for review and approval. Once approved, one or two members of the Committee travel to Worcester to present the project to the other groups who are participating in the program. At that time, they also meet with the students of the Vineyard group for a Q&A session. When that is finished, the work of the Committee begins. They are responsible for identifying appropriate islanders to be interviewed by the students and for preparing a schedule for the interviews. Arrangements are made with the hospital to provide housing for students. When they arrive, the committee provides an orientation session for them, both for the project as well as to the island. The students stay for approximately two weeks and are mentored on a regular basis by members of the Committee. At the end of their visit, the students present a power point program to the Council and the community documenting their findings and suggestions.
The commitment on the part of the Committee Members is intense, but for a short period of time. This is a worthwhile collaboration which has produced many protocols that are now in place and it is very exciting to be involved on this committee and with these students. Meetings are scheduled after the project is chosen.