Grand Rapids, MN – Since 1971, University of Minnesota medical students have had the opportunity to train in rural communities, such as Grand Rapids, as part of the Rural Physician Associate Program (RPAP). RPAP is a nine-month hands-on educational experience where third-year medical students shadow physicians in a variety of specialties, while giving them the opportunity to learn what it’s really like to work and live in rural areas. Over 35 students have been hosted in Grand Rapids since the program’s inception. Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital is happy to continue the long-standing tradition and wishes to welcome and introduce this year’s students, Carter Rohling and Kelly McKinnon.
Carter Rohling grew up in Grand Rapids and graduated from Grand Rapids High School. He completed his undergraduate degree at University of North Dakota before starting medical school at the University of Minnesota. According to Rohling, “growing up in Grand Rapids I always thought I wanted to go away, but after going away, I now know that I want to come home. I want to give back to the place that gave me so much growing up.” Rohling likes being in Grand Rapids not only because it’s where he grew up but also because “the rural setting allows for a wide scope practice, where you get to care for people for anything and everything.” Rohling is still considering his specialty, but is leaning towards Internal Medicine or General Surgery.
Kelly McKinnon is from Hermantown and got his undergraduate degree from University of Minnesota – Duluth. McKinnon is enjoying his RPAP experience in Grand Rapids as it is showing him “the reality of working in a small town. I’ll see a patient in clinic and then run into them at the grocery store.” According to McKinnon “the nine month long RPAP program is great because it has allowed me to settle in and get to know the community. It’s also given me the opportunity to get to know patients personally, and gain their trust.” McKinnon is currently engaged to be married and plans to be a Family Medicine physician.