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RPLP Faculty Development Conference Offers Chance to Discuss Health Care Reform with Rural Health Care Providers, Future Physicians

Published 09-28-2011 7:27 AM | Mark D. Birdwhistell  

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One of the major perks of my job at UK HealthCare is having the opportunity to travel across our Commonwealth for various meetings, conferences and events (check out some of my previous posts to see where I've recently been). I am honored to represent UK HealthCare at these events throughout Kentucky and thoroughly enjoy meeting all sorts of interesting people through my journeys around this great state.

On Friday, Sept. 16, and Saturday, Sept. 17, I hit the road once again, this time heading to Carter Caves State Resort Park in Olive Hill, Ky., for the UK Rural Physician Leadership Program (RPLP) Faculty Development Conference. With this pristine state park as a backdrop, I had the opportunity to speak with rural health care providers, and medical students interested in rural practice, on a topic which will come as no surprise to you if you are a regular to this blog: health care reform.  

I enjoyed getting to discuss the implications that this legislation will have on rural health care in Kentucky as well as engaging in valuable discourse with the physicians (and future physicians) who will be directly affected by this impending reform. It was especially rewarding to have one of Kentucky's newest physicians in the group.  That physician is our son Dr. Matt Birdwhistell who recently began his practice at the St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead, Kentucky. Check out St. Claire's press release regarding the new Dr. Birdwhistell. (Link) Now, more than ever, rural Kentucky needs physicians. I really admire these physicians who serve their communities and are working where they are truly needed.

Although the need for physicians in rural Kentucky is great, I also came away from this conference with a sense that we at UK HealthCare and UK College of Medicine are making progress in our goal to provide and educate physicians to serve the whole state. Several of the students present were part of UK College of Medicine's RPLP Program which specifically prepares UK medical students, who have expressed an interest in rural medicine, to become rural physicians. For more information on this unique program, click here.   

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Speaking to the UK Rural Physician Leadership Program Faculty

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 A round-table focus group

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Engaging with some of our state's future physicians

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