St. Claire HealthCare is proud to introduce the Rural Physician Leadership Program Class of 2021. These students have already completed two years at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and now begin two years of clinical training in Morehead with St. Claire HealthCare.
RPLP has been incredibly successful since its launch in 2008. Of the 19 graduates who are currently in medical practice, 84% work in rural Kentucky. Over 60 students have graduated in the past eight years (over 40 of them are still in residency training) and have entered 14 different specialties including Pediatrics, Family Medicine, and Internal Medicine.
Please join us in welcoming our new medical students!
Front, L-R: Ray Mirembo (Kenya and Berea, KY), Tracey Standafer (Malone, KY), Chelsea Nolan (Stanton, KY), Kayla King (Louisville, KY), Tayler McMurtrey (Summer Shade, KY), and Benjamin Taylor (Tyner, KY). Back, L-R: Jonathan Bach (Jackson, KY), Neil Horsley (Lexington, KY), Jeremy Miller (Chantilly, VA), and Matthew Hudson (South Shore, KY).
Jonathan is from Jackson, Kentucky. He received a Bachelor of Science with a major in biomedical science in May 2017 from Morehead State University. Jonathan was President of the MSU Pre-Med Club and participated in an 18-month research project in the MSU Cellular Biology Lab. He is very active in his church where he serves as a Deacon and organized a food/water drive for the Morgan County Area following the devastating tornado of 2012.
Jonathan has always had an interested in science and math and knew that he wanted a career that tied to one or both areas. He attributes his call to medicine to the day his 87-year-old grandmother survived cancer surgery. Her ordeal instilled a desire to serve his fellow man and work to change outcomes for others facing similar situations. Jonathan began to shadow doctors in rural and urban settings in practices that ranged from family medicine and pediatrics to trauma surgery where he soon developed a passion for medicine and a calling to practice in a rural setting.
Neil Horsley is from Lexington, Kentucky. He received a Bachelor's Degree in Chemical Engineering and Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from the University of Kentucky. Throughout his time as a student, he worked as both a Certified Nurse's Assistant and Cardiopulmonary Technician at UK Healthcare. Furthermore, in 2014 he began volunteering at the Refuge Medical Clinic in Nicholasville, KY. His experiences at the Clinic in Jessamine County revealed to him the deep sense of community and gratitude that exists when providing care in a rural setting. This desire to practice rural medicine was reinforced further when he conducted epidemiological research on Influenza mortality among underserved populations in Kentucky as a scholar in the Pathways to Practice Field Placement Program. Neil recently completed his Master of Public Health degree and a research fellowship in the epidemiology of Alzheimer’s disease in rural Kentucky. Neil has conducted several studies on COPD mortality among workers in “dusty” occupations in Kentucky. He is interested in surgery, pulmonary/critical care, and radiology.
Matthew Hudson is from South Shore, Kentucky. He is a graduate of Morehead State University. Matthew grew up in Greenup County Kentucky and witnessed firsthand the lack of healthcare access in rural areas. His dad has been a pediatrician in his community for over 25 years. Matthew has memories during his youth when parents would occasionally come to his family’s front door with their sick baby and ask if Dr. Hudson was home. He feels that in most communities, primary care physicians are the first line of defense and in some rural communities, they are the only line of defense. This is what has drawn Matthew to rural medicine. Rural medicine places a physician next to the people that are in the most desperate need of help.
Kayla is from Louisville, Kentucky. She has a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Biotechnology and a minor in Spanish from the University of Kentucky. During her four years at UK, she was a member of their women’s soccer team and played throughout the SEC, being named a captain in her senior year. Her excitement about medicine started at a young age by watching her mom, an emergency medicine doctor, take care of various neighbors, teammates, and school friends around the kitchen table in their home. She saw the practicality of such knowledge and loved being able to help the people around her in such a capacity.
During college, she had the privilege of working with Dr. Don Frazier, who specialized in educating rural students about medicine and the body, with the goal of inspiring them to pursue careers in STEM. She also was fortunate to work with Dr. Bill Dillon, a cardiologist who founded a program called Start the Heart, that aims to teach hands-only CPR to every district in Louisville, KY, with an emphasis on the underserved districts. With all three of those influencers, she has seen the importance of physicians in the community and how education is the key to better health. She hopes to one day be able to do the same for the community around her.
Tayler is from Summer Shade, Kentucky. She completed a Bachelor of Science with a major in human nutrition at the University of Kentucky. She has worked as first assist in many skin cancer removals/ surgeries and takes special interest in skin cancer prevention. She has served DanceBlue in multiple roles during the past four years and the organization still remains important in her life.
Tayler’s passion to pursue medicine began when she starting working in a local Chiropractic office and progressed as she gained experience working for a retired plastic surgeon. Through these experiences, she was able to observe how people could fall through the cracks in a rural healthcare system only to return in worse condition. She was able to see how important it was for physicians to take into account the unique challenges of small-town living when providing care. She hopes to take her love for people and medical curiosity and put it to work as a family physician in her local community.
Jeremy is from Chantilly, Virginia. He has a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in biology from Washington and Lee University. Jeremy’s passion for medicine came from living with his older sister. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 14. Interacting with his sister taught him to have compassion and empathy for those with illnesses, especially mental illness. Growing up with her strongly influenced his desire to become a physician.
During college, Jeremy had two opportunities for research both of which strengthened his desire to become a physician. His first research opportunity was through a fellowship from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The research was to analyze the differential gene expression in spiders fed different types of prey. This fellowship helped nurture his love for science, especially genetics. The second research experience had an incredibly significant impact on Jeremy. He had the opportunity to teach a group of third-year law students, as part of the Black Lung Clinic, about the biology behind Coal Worker’s Pneumoconiosis (CWP). These students helped represent coal miners pro bono in court to ensure the miners were properly compensated for CWP. This experience was unique as it allowed Jeremy to help others through what he had learned in the classroom.
Ray was born and raised in Kenya, He moved to the United States in 2011 and graduated from Berea College in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. Since then Ray has been working as an ophthalmic technician at Bluegrass Retina Consultants and UK healthcare with the Office of Quality Control and Monitoring.
Growing up in rural Africa Ray was exposed to the trials and tribulations that people undergo due to lack of access to Healthcare. The first-hand experiences of mothers losing their babies or simple ailments becoming fatal due to lack of transportation to health care centers were regular events. Working with Bluegrass Retina Consultants Ray witnessed the challenges faced in rural Kentucky as he traveled to satellite clinics in places like Somerset, Danville, Frankfort, and Richmond. He witnessed patients lose their vision due to the inability to find transportation to the clinic when they developed a retinal detachment or could not afford the prescribed eye drops.
Ray was the Berea College Volunteer Coordinator for the Adopt-a-Grand Parent program and was also involved in other community initiatives such as the Food Drive Initiative, Empty Bowl Initiative and Habitat for Humanity. Ray’s has a strong desire to become a doctor that can help this population access healthcare. He feels that The RPLP provides the best avenue to achieve this goal as it allows him to work in a rural setting as he was born and raised in a similar setting.
Chelsea is from Stanton, Kentucky. She has a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Biomedical Sciences from Morehead State University. She is a member of multiple honor societies and a past member of Phi Sigma Pi, an honor fraternity. While spending time in the hospital when her grandmother was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, she determined that she wanted to pursue a career in medicine. This decision was based upon her experience and observation of the compassion that the physicians at the cancer center showed both her grandmother and her family. This experience and several others involving interactions with medical professionals have inspired her to become a physician and to bring the compassion and care that she has experienced and observed to those that need it most.
Tracey is from West Liberty, Kentucky. She earned a Bachelor of Science with a major in biology from Morehead State University in May 2017. She has worked as a pharmacy technician and tutor and is also a member of the Tri-Beta National Biological Honor Society.
Tracey’s passion to pursue medicine began with the diagnoses of her paternal grandparents with Alzheimer’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis. Wanting to understand disease and treatment options inspired her attentiveness to the sciences. Involvement in obstetrics healthcare in high school, facilitated through the Rural Health Scholar program, enhanced the quality of her understanding of how rewarding a physician’s job can be, especially when it comes to the birthing process. Her goal is to come back to a rural area in Appalachia and partake in providing much-needed specialty medical care.
Benjamin comes from Tyner, Kentucky. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Kentucky University where he studied biology. During his studies, he worked as a tutor for the Department of Biological Sciences. He enjoys beekeeping and being involved with Hospice.
He became interested in medicine following a family illness that necessitated he care for a terminally ill family member for close to two years. Following this, he spent most of the next year volunteering for a political campaign going door to door in Southeastern Kentucky exposing him to social and economic issues of Appalachia. His interests include building strong rural communities through health education and access to adequate primary care. Prior to medicine, he worked as a cabinet makers apprentice for close to three years.