By SUDHIN THANAWALA
Associated Press

BRISTOL, Va. (AP) - A small group of medical colleges across the U.S. is aiming to boost the number of doctors in rural communities by trying to sell medical students on rural life.

They send students to live in small towns and train with local doctors. Some also organize outings and cultural experiences to try to entice students to live or raise a family in a rural community after they graduate.

Schools have taken students to a ranch to brand cattle, brought in an Appalachian story teller and catered local delicacies to show students what rural life offers.

Administrators of rural track medical school programs say their graduates go into rural practice at considerably higher rates than other doctors.

That's good news because rural areas are struggling with hospital closures and physician shortages.

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