Laila Wrenn and Mallory Parker

Two juniors from Mississippi University for Women were recently selected to participate in the undergraduate portion of the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program (MRPSP).

Junior Mallory Parker is a biology major from Mantachie. She also is minoring in chemistry and nutrition. Junior Laila Wrenn, of Petal, is a biology major. She is minoring in chemistry and nonprofit management

“I applied to the rural physicians program because I knew that I wanted to work in a rural area being that I’m from one, and I think that it’s important that we recognize the needs of these rural communities and get doctors engaged,” said Wrenn.

Parker and Wrenn plan to give back to their rural communities. Both of the students look to specialize in pediatric medicine. Wrenn hopes to start a nonprofit clinic that will focus on the needs of low-income communities and minority populations in a rural setting. Parker aims to use nutrition and medicine to address the needs of children in rural communities.

Both Parker and Wrenn credit the Department of Math and Science for preparing them to be successful.
“Dr. Welch, Dr. Whitwam and Dr. Hagey sat us down and did mock interviews. The W prepared us with small class sizes and the way my teachers expect the most for me. I wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Parker.

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 our state. The program offers undergraduate academic enrichment and a clinical experience in a rural setting. Upon completion of all medical school admissions requirements, the student can use the scholarship at the University of Mississippi School of Medicine or William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

During medical school, each MRPSP scholar may receive $35,000 per year based on available funding. Consistent legislative support of MRPSP translates to 62 medical students receiving a total of $2.17million to support their education this fall. In addition to the legislative support, three privately funded scholarships are also awarded from the Madison Charitable Foundation, the Selby and Richard McRae Foundation and the Medical Assurance Company of Mississippi. Additional benefits include personalized mentoring from practicing rural physicians and academic support.

Upon completion of medical school, MRPSP scholars must enter a residency program in one of five primary care specialties: family medicine, general internal medicine, pediatrics, medicine-pediatrics or obstetrics/gynecology. A select number of spots are available for those interested in psychiatry, as well. The MRPSP Scholar must provide four years of service in a clinic-based practice in an approved Mississippi community of 15,000 people or fewer and 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 mentoring during the medical school application process, earn a $140,000 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 Steven Carter at 601-815-9022, or

The Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program and the Mississippi Rural Dentists Scholarship Program were formed in an effort to increase the number of physicians and dentists serving the healthcare needs of Mississippians in rural areas. Housed at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, and collaborating with its schools of medicine and dentistry 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.

About The W

Located in historic Columbus, Mississippi, The W was founded in 1884 as the first state-supported college for women in the United States. Today, the university is home to 2,227 students in more than 70 majors and concentrations and has educated men for 40 years. The university is nationally recognized for low student debt, diversity and social mobility which empowers students to BE BOLD.

Be Bold. Tower with Blue.