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Endowed Chair/Distinguished Scholar in Rural Health Policy Named

By Tammy Gay

Photo of Michael Samuels
Michael Samuels, Dr.P.H

“I am pleased to welcome Dr. Samuels to our faculty. His outstanding accomplishments in rural health have prepared him to assume a major leadership role in addressing the rural health care needs of the Commonwealth by combining academic research with community applications to create the progressive health policy we need for the 21st century.”

-- Emery Wilson, M.D., dean,
UK College of Medicine

 

March 28, 2003 (Lexington, Ky.) -- Michael Samuels didn't know when he was growing up on a farm that his life’s work would focus on rural life. Samuels, Dr.P.H., has been named Endowed Chair/Distinguished Scholar in Rural Health Policy and professor of family practice in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.

“Kentucky is ahead of other states in terms of its commitment to facing the issues in rural health,” Samuels said. “The University of Kentucky attracting $2 million from Anthem for an endowed chair focused on rural health is one way it’s ahead. The UK Center for Excellence in Rural Health and its programs is another.”

Samuels’ position is a $2 million dollar chair funded with a contribution of $1 million from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky (FHKY) and matched with $1 million from the Research Challenge Trust Fund, established by the Kentucky Legislature.

“The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is dedicated to addressing the unmet health care needs of Kentuckians,” said Rita Moya, the Foundation’s Executive Director. “The appointment of Dr. Samuels to the FHKY-sponsored Endowed Chair in Rural Health Policy will assist us in carrying out our mission by enhancing Kentucky's research capacity related to rural health policy.”

Samuels’ role will be to provide a focal point in rural health policy for Kentucky and oversee research activities at the Center for Rural Health. One of his first goals is to attract additional researchers to Hazard and emphasize collaborative and interdisciplinary health services research with researchers in Lexington, Madison and Morehead.

“I am pleased to welcome Dr. Samuels to our faculty,” said Emery Wilson, M.D., dean, UK College of Medicine. “His outstanding accomplishments in rural health have prepared him to assume a major leadership role in addressing the rural health care needs of the Commonwealth by combining academic research with community applications to create the progressive health policy we need for the 21st century.”

Samuels’ research interests include rural primary care systems, HIV/AIDS service delivery, outreach and health intervention for the poor and minorities, and community and migrant health centers.

Some issues he would like to tackle in Kentucky are lung cancer, nutrition, obesity and oral health. He also would like to ensure there are enough physicians, nurses and other health care providers to provide services to the residents of rural areas.

Samuels received his master’s degree in public administration from George Washington University and his doctorate in public health administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Prior to coming to UK, Samuels had been professor and chair of the Department of Health Administration at the University of South Carolina’s School of Public Health. He also had been director of the South Carolina Rural Health Research Center at the University of South Carolina, one of the six national centers funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration.


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