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Rural Physician Leadership Program Students Have New Scholarship Opportunity

Rural Physician Leadership Program Students Have New Scholarship Opportunity

Since its founding sixty years ago, St. Claire HealthCare (SCH) has always been a strong supporter of educational programs. That’s why in 2008, they helped create the Rural Physician Leadership Program (RPLP), a joint venture with the University of Kentucky (UK) College of Medicine and Morehead State University.

RPLP develops students who are interested in practicing medicine in a rural area after graduating. They receive hands-on training in rural settings to prepare them for the special healthcare needs of remote Appalachian areas.

Each year, 12 students are accepted into the program and they complete their first two years of education on UK’s main campus in Lexington, and the following two years are spent in Morehead, doing rotations through St. Claire HealthCare and at other clinical sites in the area.

Now these students have an exciting new scholarship opportunity from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Medicaid in Kentucky. Anthem has established the Anthem Rural Medicine Scholarship, to help lessen the financial burden of medical school for students who have a demonstrated financial need and intend to practice medicine in a rural area upon completion of their residency. The Anthem Rural Medicine Scholarships, totaling $100,000, will be awarded to seven fourth-year RPLP students over the next four years.

“Receiving funding like these scholarships will support students who are passionate about practicing rural medicine and serving their communities, with the ultimate goal of improving healthcare in our state,” said Rebecca Todd, MD, Associate Dean for the RPLP and an OB/GYN at the UK Morehead Women’s HealthCare Clinic located at St. Claire HealthCare.

The RPLP program has been greatly successful since its inception. Many of the students in the program come from rural areas themselves and have seen firsthand the need for greater access to healthcare. Over the past 15 years, it has graduated 110 physicians, and half of them have gone on to become practicing rural physicians. The program also has several alumni who now serve as faculty to help train current students.

Fourth-year RPLP students will be able to apply for the scholarship starting in January 2024. The recipients of the scholarship will be announced at the RPLP Match Day Celebration in March.