The REACH Program

(Rural Educational Approach to Community Health)


REACH Program Logo

Due to COVID, the Piedmont AHEC REACH (Rural Educational Approach to Community Health) Program, is on hold as wait for now. The program is an annual summer rural-health program held in Asheboro, N.C. Candidates who must currently attend a North Carolina school and have successfully completed their first year. Please check back to see when the program resume.

REACH Program Application form (we're not taking applications due to COVID)

Program Highlights

The REACH Summer Program is an externship for first and second-year Medical, Physician Assistant, and Nurse Practitioner students. It exposes students to rural community medicine through several different learning experiences. The program requires a two-week-and-one-day commitment from each student. Students will receive a $1,000 stipend and free housing – some meals will be provided. Students are required to provide their own transportation.

Through the REACH Summer Program, students will:

  • Shadow and network with rural health professionals.
  • Experience the richness of community and family.
  • Gain knowledge from interdisciplinary training.
  • Develop an appreciation of the history and culture found in a rural community.

Participants gain experience in:

  • Public Health
  • Case Management
  • Family Healthcare
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Hospice
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Community and Cultural Experiences
  • Outreach and Extension Program

North Carolina Medical Schools

  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine
  • Duke University School of Medicine
  • Wake Forest School of Medicine
  • Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University

North Carolina Physician Assistant Programs  

  • University of North Carolina PA Program
  • Wake Forest University PA Program
  • Elon University PA Program
  • High Point University PA Program
  • Campbell University PA Program

North Carolina Nurse Practitioner Programs

  • East Carolina University Nurse Practitioner Program
  • The University of North Carolina at Charlotte Nurse Practitioner Program
  • The University of North Carolina at Greensboro Nurse Practitioner Program
  • The University of North Carolina at Wilmington Nurse Practitioner Program
  • Wake Forest University Nurse Practitioner Program
  • Western Carolina University Nurse Practitioner Program
  • Winston-Salem State University Nurse Practitioner Program

Adrienne“Small town. Country living. Rural communities can be found all across North Carolina. It is important that healthcare providers understand and are aware and capable of meeting the needs of this patient population. The REACH Program opens the doors to fulfilling this need.”

2020 Reach Program participant Adrienne White

Adrienne is a Nurse Practitioner student from UNC Wilmington. She currently works part-time as a nurse and has a passion for serving those in need. Her focus as a Nurse Practitioner will be on health literacy, preventative care, and disease management.

For more information about the REACH Program, contact Tonya Baldwin, MA, Coordinator, ORPCE, at or 336-832-8566.

Watch the video below to hear how the REACH Program helped one student gain experience in patient interaction.

VIDEO: The REACH Program Summer Learning Experience

Omar Acosta, University of North Carolina School of Medicine's first-year medical student, talks about his experience with the 2016 REACH Program.