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Rural Physician Leadership Program

The Rural Physician Leadership Program (RPLP) is a program developed jointly with the University of Kentucky (UK) College of Medicine, St. Claire HealthCare and Morehead State University. The first two years of basic science education are taken at UK's main campus in Lexington. These are taken with the remainder of the medical school class. Clinical experiences in years three and four will occur mainly at St. Claire Regional Medical Center and other sites in rural northeastern Kentucky. Clinical rotations will be similar to UKā€”block rotations with four months internal medicine, two months surgery, psychiatry, neurology, two months pediatrics, and obstetrics/gynecology. The family medicine rotation involves attending one family medicine clinic once weekly for the entire year. Students will thus gain a greater familiarity with the workings of the clinic and with the patients seen there. Students will have opportunities to do electives in Lexington and at other sites in the fourth year, should they wish to gain specialty experience not available in a rural setting. Graduates will possess an MD degree with no restrictions on residency/fellowship opportunities. In addition, through Morehead State University, the program offers training in community health, epidemiology, debt management and business skills not offered in the Lexington program.

Click here to view the official webpage of the Rural Physician Leadership Program.


Who should apply?

Applicants to the University of Kentucky College of Medicine who are interested in practicing in a rural area upon completion of their training. Preference is given to in-state rural applicants, but anyone with an interest in rural medicine can apply. Up to 10 students will be taken each year. The rural areas of the state need all specialties, not just family medicine. The program will provide an excellent preparation for surgery, medical specialties, psychiatry or any other area of medicine practiced in a rural area.

Where do the clinical rotations occur?

St. Claire Regional Medical Center is a 159-bed, rural referral hospital located in Morehead, one hour from Lexington, in northeast Kentucky. The hospital has an ICU and critical care capability, with nephrology, hematology/oncology, cardiology, psychiatry, and surgical subspecialists on staff. In addition to outpatient clinics and surrounding counties, the hospital maintains home health services, home hospice and palliative medicine. Other teaching sites include busy pediatrics practices in Mount Sterling, South Shore, and Maysville; family medicine sites in the region; and obstetrics sites in Morehead and Maysville.

Why have rural training?

Traditional medical training is performed at tertiary care centers, emphasizing treatment of critically ill patients with advanced diseases. There are no cooperative arrangements with other facilities, only a focus on patients referred from outside. The RPLP offers an alternative mode of training, emphasizing commonly seen diseases, outpatient and continuity care, rural and community health issues, and cooperative arrangements with other hospitals. These topics, if addressed at all, are not addressed as efficiently at a university hospital, yet they are critical to practicing in a rural area. Understanding these issues is also essential for those interested in missionary work or medical practice outside the United States. Due to its smaller size, the RPLP also emphasizes developing close relationships with faculty.

Are there scholarships or loans specific to the RPLP?

While there are scholarships and loan repayments available for students who practice in medically underserved areas, there are no specific scholarship funds available for the RPLP. The student services coordinators in Lexington and Morehead will assist students with their financial options.


To learn more about the RPLP at the University of Kentucky, speak to a representative from the admissions office, or contact Dr. Anthony D. Weaver, assistant dean for the Morehead campus, at:

606.783.6802 | 606.784.2767 (fax)

The program requires a separate application, but applications that are not accepted into the Rural Physician Leadership Program will be subsequently considered for the Lexington campus.