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UK Breaks Ground
for New Center for Rural Health Building

By Mary Margaret Colliver and Tammy Gay


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Groundbreaking for the UK Center for Rural Health Bldg. in Hazard.


"For the past 12 years, the University of Kentucky Center for Rural Health has acted as a catalyst for research, policy, academic training and service in the communities it serves. The center is based on the premise that people living in rural Kentucky have the intellectual, civic and emotional capital to solve their own problems."

-- Lee T. Todd Jr.,
president,
University of Kentucky

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Aug. 1, 2002 (Hazard, Ky.) -- University of Kentucky officials broke ground today for the new UK Center for Rural Health Building. Also participating in the official ceremony were U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers, Hazard Mayor William "Bill" Gorman, ARH C.E.O. Stephen Hanson, ARH Board of Trustees Chairman William Engle, Grady Stumbo and Benny Ray Bailey.

The new four-story, 57,000-square-foot facility, will be located on the campus of the Hazard ARH Medical Center. The $13.1 million project represents a unique collaboration of university, Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), state, federal and private funding sources. The building is expected to be completed in January 2004.

The building will house outpatient family practice and dental clinics on the first floor and classrooms and class laboratories on the second and third floors. The fourth floor will include faculty and staff work stations. Several health professions associate degree programs of Hazard Community College also will be located in the new facility. Flexible space will be available for community programs and for student service-learning experiences.

"For the past 12 years, the University of Kentucky Center for Rural Health has acted as a catalyst for research, policy, academic training and service in the communities it serves," said UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. "The center is based on the premise that people living in rural Kentucky have the intellectual, civic and emotional capital to solve their own problems. The center located in Hazard, along with regional programs in Morehead and Madisonville, will create a rural 'think tank' where issues affecting the health of rural Kentuckians can be researched, the effectiveness of these programs can be demonstrated, and local entrepreneurs can create partnerships to build private business."

This new facility represents more than 12 years of planning in order to offer a new opportunity for rural Kentucky. UK and the University of Louisville began discussions about a rural health center in the early 1980s. Former Kentucky Sen. Benny Ray Bailey and Dr. Grady Stumbo worked hard to make sure such a facility would be housed in a rural area. To honor their hard work and concern for rural Kentuckians, the new building will be named the Bailey-Stumbo Building.

"This groundbreaking is an example of how key leaders locally, regionally and nationally can work together and develop partnerships to find funding for projects that are so vital to the university's mission here and to rural Kentuckians in general," said U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers. "I am pleased to have been able to secure the federal funds needed for this important project."

"Twelve years ago, this center was created to combat the limited access to health care in rural Kentucky," said James W. Holsinger Jr., UK senior vice president and chancellor for the UK Chandler Medical Center. "With its work in community outreach and education, the center has been successful in improving the access to health care in rural Kentucky, along with educating future rural health care providers."

Today, the center has grown into a successful organization with 129 employees statewide. Because of the growth, it became apparent that the center needed a building to match its innovative staff, with strong roots in the community.


"Key leaders on the local, state, federal and university levels went to work to put together a funding package that would house the academic, outreach and clinical programs that are so vital to the university's mission here and to rural Kentuckians in general," said Judy Jones, interim director of the center. "The new building represents a unique collaboration among university, state, federal and private funding sources."

Established in 1990 by the Kentucky General Assembly, the UK Center for Rural Health is part of the UK Chandler Medical Center. The center aims to improve the health of rural Kentuckians and strengthen rural communities. Based in Hazard, the center has expanded with regional programs in Northeast and Western Kentucky.

The UK Center for Rural Health has developed a national reputation for implementation of effective rural health programs. These resources include its programs in rural health professions education, community organization, lay health outreach workers, technical assistance in rural health research and analysis, and the federally funded state Office of Rural Health.

In 2000, the center was named the Outstanding Rural Health Program in the nation by the National Rural Health Association and in 1997 received the Pew Award for Achievement in Primary Care.

The center provides advanced educational programs in nursing, clinical laboratory sciences and physical therapy, as well as a family practice medical residency program.

The Family Practice Residency Program not only trains family physicians for rural Kentucky, but also alleviates the shortage of primary health care in the region.

In the past 12 years, the center has trained 24 family practice physicians through its residency program, 114 physical therapists, 105 nurses and 66 clinical lab science graduates.

The center's educational programs are successful in placing graduates in rural communities. Eighty percent of the graduates practice in rural areas, with 77 percent in rural Kentucky. This places the Center for Rural Health among the most successful in placing graduates in rural areas.

Active in community programs, the center administers Kentucky's federally designated Office of Rural Health; Kentucky Homeplace, a lay health outreach worker program; SKYCAP, which has been designated as a national model for community access programs; and Community Initiated Decision Making, a community-organizing program.


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