Two Chemistry Majors Accepted into Rural Physician Scholarship Program

UM students and alumni who have been selected for the the undergraduate portion of the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program for 2019 are (from left) Jamie Johnson, Cole Stephens, Katelyn Barnes, Nader Pahlevan, Jamie Riggs and Riley Brown. Photo by Jay Ferchaud/UM Medical Center

Four University of Mississippi students and two recent graduates have been selected to participate in the undergraduate portion of the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program.

The students are:

Katelyn Barnes, daughter of Donna Barnes and the late Scotty Barnes, of Tishomingo, a junior majoring in biological sciences

Riley Brown, daughter of Oatis Wilfred Brown III and Kimberly Rusty Brown, of Gautier, a senior majoring in biochemistry

Jamie Johnson, daughter of Janee Conner and Mark Johnson, of Falkner, a junior majoring in biological sciences

Nader Pahlevan, son of Amir and Amalia Pahlevan, of Biloxi, a senior majoring in computer science

Jamie Riggs, daughter of Alton and Jackie Haley, of Goodman, who earned a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences with a minor in chemistry

Cole Stephens, son of Craig and Shaye Stephens, of Mantachie, who earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry

Created in 2007, MRPSP identifies college sophomores and juniors who demonstrate the necessary commitment and academic achievement to become competent, well-trained rural primary care physicians in the state. The program offers undergraduate academic enrichment and a clinical experience in a rural setting.

Upon completion of all medical school admissions requirements, participating students can be admitted to the UM School of Medicine or William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

During medical school at either institution, each MRPSP scholar is under consideration for $30,000 per year, based on available funding. Consistent legislative support of MRPSP translates to 61 medical students sharing $1.83 million to support their education this fall.

Additional benefits include personalized mentoring from practicing rural physicians and academic support.

Upon completion of medical training, MRPSP scholars must enter a residency program in one of five primary care specialties: family medicine, general internal medicine, medicine-pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology or pediatrics. The MRPSP scholar must provide four years of service in a clinic-based practice in an approved Mississippi community of 15,000 or fewer population located more than 20 miles from a medically served area.

The MRPSP provides a means for rural Mississippi students to earn a seat in medical school, receive MCAT preparation, earn a $120,000 medical school scholarship in return for four years of service and learn the art of healing from practicing rural physicians.

For more information, contact MRPSP Associate Director Dan Coleman at 601-815-9022 or or go to

The Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program and the Mississippi Rural Dentists Scholarship Program are state-funded efforts to increase the number of dentists and physicians serving the health care needs of Mississippians in rural areas.

Housed at the UM Medical Center in Jackson and collaborating with its medical and dental schools and the College of Osteopathic Medicine at William Carey University in Hattiesburg, the programs use various outreach, mentoring and training methods to identify, support, educate and deploy new generations of health care workers for Mississippi’s underserved populations. To learn more about either program, click here.

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