Quick Takes

Qualifying UK medical students in rural provider program to get scholarships

By: - November 16, 2023 3:21 pm

A medical student at work. (UK photo)

The University of Kentucky College of Medicine and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Medicaid in Kentucky are giving medical students on a path to serve rural areas seven scholarships worth $100,000 in total. 

Fourth year students in UK’s Rural Physician Leadership Program will benefit from this money, UK said. They need to demonstrate financial need and intend to practice medicine in a rural area. 

RPLP students start their medical school journey in Lexington at the college’s main campus and then spend two years in Morehead rotating in rural clinics. The 10-year-old program’s goal is to graduate physicians who are culturally competent to treat rural patients. Since its launch, 110 doctors have graduated from this program. 

“This generous gift will equip more mission-driven students with the training to become doctors who can fulfill vital health care needs in rural communities,” UK College of Medicine Dean Dr. Charles “Chipper” Griffith III said in a statement. 

Funneling more physicians into rural areas is important to tackling the state’s dismal health outcomes, he added.  

Kentucky suffers from a lack of primary care providers. The Kentucky Primary Care Association said in 2022 that 94% of the state’s 120 counties don’t have enough primary care providers, the Lantern previously reported. And the commonwealth is one of the  sickest overall states in the nation. 

“This effort helps guarantee the availability of high-quality care in every corner of the state, particularly in our rural and underserved communities where the need is most pronounced,” said Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Medicaid in Kentucky President Leon Lamoreaux. 

Of its more than 100 graduates, half of the physicians who graduated from the RPLP program went into primary care, UK said. Most students who enter the program come from underserved areas, according to UK, “and have a strong desire to make a difference in communities that need greater health care access.” 

The first of the Anthem Rural Medicine Scholarships will be announced in March on Match Day, UK said. On Match Day, medical school students learn where they matched for their post-graduation residencies.


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Sarah Ladd
Sarah Ladd

Sarah Ladd is a Louisville-based journalist from West Kentucky who's covered everything from crime to higher education. She spent nearly two years on the metro breaking news desk at The Courier Journal. In 2020, she started reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic and has covered health ever since. As the Kentucky Lantern's health reporter, she focuses on mental health, LGBTQ+ issues, children's welfare, COVID-19 and more.