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New Director at Center for Rural Health

Contact: Mary Margaret Colliver

Photo of Judy Jones
Judy Jones

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“Rural Kentuckians are fully capable of being effective partners with the university in addressing needs which impact the rural parts of the state more heavily than the urban areas. The Center for Rural Health provides a platform for demonstrating the creativity and intelligence of rural people.”

-- Judy Jones,
new director of the UK Center for Rural Health in Hazard

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June 16, 2003 (Lexington, Ky.) -- Judy Jones, a lawyer, journalist, and long-time advocate for rural Kentuckians, has been named the new director of the University of Kentucky Center for Rural Health in Hazard, Ky.

The appointment, subject to approval by the UK Board of Trustees, was made by UK College of Medicine Dean Emery Wilson, who cited Jones’ exceptional leadership during her year-long term as interim director of the center. “Ms. Jones has spent her career advancing the health, education and economic prospects of rural Kentuckians,” Wilson said. “She is a thoughtful and passionate spokesman for the rural parts of our state.”

Prior to being appointed interim director in April 2002, Jones served as director of the Kentucky’s State Office of Rural Health, also located at the Center for Rural Health.

“Rural Kentuckians have the ability to solve their own problems,” Jones said. “UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. has asked for our help in his effort to eliminate the ’Kentucky uglies,’ ” she added.

“Rural Kentuckians are fully capable of being effective partners with the university in addressing needs which impact the rural parts of the state more heavily than the urban areas,” Jones continued. “The Center for Rural Health provides a platform for demonstrating the creativity and intelligence of rural people.”

Jones has spent her career living and working in rural Kentucky and Tennessee. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from UK and graduated from the UK College of Law in 1992. As a law student, she served as president of the national champion Moot Court Board and was a law journal editor.

She has done rural public policy work for the Ford Foundation, the Frontier Nursing Service, and city and county agencies throughout rural Kentucky.

Jones also was a reporter for the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Lexington Herald-Leader, the Owensboro Messenger Inquirer, and the Daily News in Bowling Green. She has received state and national recognition for her reporting on rural education and health.

She served as a member of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence. Her creative writing was recognized in 2001 by the Kentucky Foundation for Women, which supported her efforts to publish a series of personal essays about an Appalachian woman’s transition from a rural coal mining background to becoming an attorney in contemporary Kentucky.

The UK Center for Rural Health in Hazard employs 120 people across rural Kentucky in the health professions, education, research, outreach, and public policy. This year U.S.News & World Report ranked UK’s rural medicine program in the top 10 in the country, with the center as a keystone of the College of Medicine’s rural work.

The center houses the national model for the federal Community Access Program and has been honored for its innovation in improving access to health care by the Pew Health Professions Committee.

The center was honored by the National Rural Health Association in 2000 as the Outstanding Rural Health Program in the nation, and the center’s Kentucky Homeplace Program was named a semifinalist for the Innovations in American Government in 2001, sponsored by the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.


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