The Arizona Rural Health Professions Program (RHPP) is a core program supported by Arizona AHEC annually since fiscal year 2007. The Arizona Legislature created RHPP in 1997 (Arizona Statute 15-1754) to address shortages of health professionals in Arizona's rural communities. RHPP provides rural training experiences for students from the University of Arizona (UA), Arizona State University (ASU) and Northern Arizona University (NAU). Under legislation, each year the participating schools select ten nurse practitioner students (UA=4 NP students, ASU=4 NP students and NAU=2 NP students), fifteen medical students from the University of Arizona and four pharmacy students from the University of Arizona to participate in RHPP. RHPP is voluntary for student participation but mandatory for the three participating state universities. Please contact the RHPPs directly to determine participant eligibility.
RHPP is central to the mission of Arizona AHEC to help prepare the health workforce for rural and urban underserved populations. In fiscal year 2007, due to increases in medical student enrollments at the UA College of Medicine and the establishment of a new medical school in Phoenix, coupled with Arizona's significant primary care provider shortage that is felt more acutely in underserved communities, Arizona AHEC initiated financial support of RHPP to the participating schools with the goal of doubling the numbers of students who participate in RHPP. While RHPP by history focuses on rural Arizona communities, Arizona AHEC also supports clinical rotations in Arizona's urban medically underserved communities. Public health training was not included in the Arizona statute; however, Arizona AHEC began supporting a public health RHPP at the University of Arizona in 2007.
For program summaries and highlights, please see the 2021 AzAHEC Annual Report.