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Local high school student pursues medical dreams

A Brookhaven teen is pursuing her dreams of becoming a doctor by attending a five-week program this summer.

Taylor Cupit is currently in Starkville attending Mississippi State University’s Rural Medical Scholars program.

Bonnie Carew, program director, said that the program is reserved for students between their junior and senior years of high school. The program helps the 24 students know what steps they need to take to pursue a medical degree.

“It’s all geared to encourage them to consider a future in medicine,” she said.

Taylor Cupit of Brookhaven (center) participates in a communications workshop held at the start of the Rural Medical Scholars program. Cupit is participating in a five-week program at Mississippi State University, where she will be completing coursework in biology and sociology, shadowing physicians and visiting the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Taylor Cupit of Brookhaven (center) participates in a communications workshop held at the start of the Rural Medical Scholars program. Cupit is participating in a five-week program at Mississippi State University, where she will be completing coursework in biology and sociology, shadowing physicians and visiting the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

The program includes freshmen-level classes in biology and sociology, shadowing physicians in Tupelo, Starkville and West Point and a visit to the University of Mississippi Medical Center, where they get to speak with the dean of admissions.

Carew said the project was important because there is large need for physicians in rural areas.

“Most of the state of Mississippi is technically rural,” she said, “depending on which federal definition you use.”

She also said Mississippi has the lowest number of physicians per capita in the nation. That number is particularly important outside of major areas such as Jackson.

Carew said people in Mississippi often have to travel a great deal for medical treatment, particularly when a specialist is involved.

“We stress that need and that opportunity to these children,” she said.

She said the state needs more primary care physicians, pediatricians and others considered as part of the first line of defense.

Carew said the program helps students by preparing them for what academics will be like once they start college and also by instilling good study habits. The program includes mandatory study sessions, where tutors are made available.

“Unfortunately for brighter students, you think you’re going to coast like you did in high school,” she said.

As for the shadowing, Carew said it allows the students to figure out if medicine is really a field they want to study before a lot of time has been invested.

For more information about the program, visit http://msucares.com/health/rms/.