UofL Medical School campus in Madisonville hopes to send more physicians to rural parts of the state

09/08/2016 04:46 PM

MADISONVILLE – In an effort to attract more doctors to the less populated areas of the commonwealth, the University of Louisville Medical School has a rural track for some of its students who spend the last two years of their studies in Madisonville in the hope that those graduates go on to practice in rural Kentucky.

Almost 60 percent of Kentucky’s counties are considered to be health professional shortage areas, having far too few primary care physicians.

The U of L Medical School Trover campus, located on the property of what is now the Baptist Health Hospital in Madisonville, gives students a sample of what life is like for doctors practicing in a rural community.

Professor of Family Medicine and Associate Dean Dr. Bill Crump, who’s been on the staff at Trover since its inception in 1998, says having medical students do medical studies and residencies in rural parts of the state is a key to getting them to practice in those areas of the commonwealth.

“The best way to get a doctor to a small town, is to get a medical student from a small town, and train them in a small town,” Crump said.

Medical students spend their first two years on the UofL main campus before transferring to Madisonville for their final two years.

The costs associated with running the remote campus have been paid mostly by coal severance tax money.

Crump says rural communities which have practicing physicians result in an economic impact for that community.

“The UK Center for Rural Health has been quoted to say every primary care doctor that you recruit to a small town brings in $1.6 million a year,” Crump said.

Former students like Dr. Joshua Scearce from Hickman, who is doing his residency at Baptist Health Madisonville, also suggests that working in a rural setting gives young students and doctors more experiences practicing medicine than they would get in an urban setting.

“You get a very hands on experience here,” Scearce said. “At other places you might be in the pecking order of medical students and residents. Here it’s you and the tending (physician), so you get a lot of hands on experience.”

Click here to learn more about the University of Medical School Trover campus.


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