More Students Committed to Healing Kentucky Families

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Numbers tell a story.  They can be uplifting, promising.

They can be heartbreaking, haunting. 

Take a few Kentucky numbers.

The Commonwealth leads the nation in rates of cancer and chronic lower respiratory disease. We are 6th in heart disease, 7th in diabetes and 8th in stroke.

As Kentuckians, we know that we cannot afford these statistics. Too many lives are cut short. Too many dreams extinguished.

The heart of the issue is this: Kentucky needs more physicians and residents. We are:

  • 36th in the nation in the number of Active Physicians (225 per 100,000 people)
  • 40th in the nation in the number of Active Primary Care Physicians (79 per 100,000 people)

So, what can we—the university tasked with improving people's lives through excellence in education, research and creative work, service and health care—do to address this challenge?

The UK College of Medicine is at its capacity at the Lexington campus, and although there is a deep applicant pool, we can’t expand without the help of regional partners.

So, just over a year ago, the University of Kentucky – in partnership with Western Kentucky University, Morehead State, and regional medical providers in Bowling Green, Morehead, and Ashland– announced our expansion of medical education in Western and Eastern Kentucky. In February, we were proud to continue that work, announcing another significant collaboration in Northern Kentucky.

Yesterday, we took another important step in our shared journey, as we broke ground on the UK College of Medicine-Bowling Green Campus.

This four-year, regional campus medical school is the first of its kind in Kentucky and is a partnership between The Medical Center, UK and WKU. It will be a fully functioning campus, utilizing the exact same curriculum and assessments as UK’s Lexington campus, and with on-site UK College of Medicine-appointed faculty.

These UK faculty will teach in small groups and provide simulation/standardized patient experiences with lectures delivered on-site from Lexington utilizing educational technology. Clinical experiences will occur at The Medical Center at Bowling Green and surrounding community practices.

At the University of Kentucky, we know that working together—across disciplines and across the Commonwealth—is the best way to ensure real, positive change for those we serve.

Through partnership, we can do more -- and be more -- than is ever possible alone. That is the powerful idea at work here. Currently, the UK College of Medicine enrolls 547 full-time students including the most recently admitted class. And physicians who train in satellite areas are 60-70% more likely to stay in those areas to practice.

That’s 30 percent more students, per class, committed to healing Kentucky families.

More students who can combine skills from the classroom with their compassion, to impact the world around them.

More students who, through their love of medicine, demonstrate their love of their communities—of their fellow Kentuckians.

I’d like to thank everyone involved in making this partnership possible.

Numbers do tell a powerful story. Together, we will rewrite Kentucky’s.


Timothy S. Tracy