UK HealthCare

Medical Students Begin Rural Medicine Program in Morehead


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 2, 2011) — Seven third-year medical students from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine are beginning their next medical education step in the Rural Physician Leadership Program (RPLP) in Morehead, Ky.

"The concept behind the program is quite simple," said Dr. Anthony Weaver, UK College of Medicine assistant dean for Morehead Regional Site. "Take a rural student, dedicated to their community, train them in the community, and send them back to their community to practice."

These students -- Nathan Hudson, Lesley Jackson, Katherine Johnson, Crystal Norgren, Shea Poynter, Miranda Smith and Katrina Winkler -- are the second group of students to begin their clinical training in Morehead.

The RPLP, developed by the UK College of Medicine, trains physicians to become practitioners and leaders for rural areas. It was created in response to the growing health care needs evident in rural areas of Kentucky and the rest of the nation. The RPLP is unique to UK and is designed to produce physicians in all specialties who can provide health care leadership.

The Morehead Regional Site of the RPLP is the program's first regional site in Kentucky and is based in the Morehead State University's Center for Health, Education and Research (CHER).  For Morehead Regional Site RPLP students, training is primarily based at St. Claire Regional Medical Center and with physicians in the Northeast Area Health Education Center serving as preceptors.

Additionally, Morehead State University's Department of Business and Public Affairs will provide courses during the final two years that focus on medical use of information technology, financial issues and debt management, and community engagement for health policy. This program will lead to the Certificate in Health Systems Leadership from MSU.

In order to train these future rural physicians, UK College of Medicine has partnered with health care providers, hospitals and clinics, and institutions of higher education to develop two RPLP sites located in and serving both Eastern Kentucky and the Purchase Area in the westernmost part of the Commonwealth. Each of these two sites will accept up to 10 students per year.

MEDIA CONTACT: Julie Meador (859) 323-2395 or