Student providers aspiring to rural and underserved experiences at the University of Washington: promoting team practice among the health care professions

Acad Med. 2003 Dec;78(12):1211-6. doi: 10.1097/00001888-200312000-00003.


In the United States there are shortages of health care providers for both rural and underserved populations. There are also shortages of interprofessional or team-based training programs. To address these problems, the University of Washington's Area Health Education Center program and School of Medicine offer a voluntary extracurricular program for students in the university's six health science schools. The Student Providers Aspiring to Rural and Underserved Experiences (SPARX) program is an interprofessional, student-operated, center/school-supported program consisting of a wide range of activities. SPARX supports students interested in practicing among rural and urban medically underserved patients and in interacting with their peers in other health professions schools. A brief history and description of the program are presented, along with results of a survey of students indicating that SPARX reinforces their interest in practice among the underserved and influences their understanding of other health professions. Data on residency choices of medical students who have participated in the SPARX program are presented, indicating that these students are more likely to select primary care residency programs than the average students in their classes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / organization & administration*
  • Health Occupations*
  • Humans
  • Medically Underserved Area*
  • Models, Educational
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration*
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Rural Health
  • Schools, Medical / organization & administration*
  • Students, Medical
  • Washington