New Center for Rural Health Building

Contact: Mary Margaret Colliver

Photo of Dr. Grady Stumbo, Lee T. Todd Jr. and Benny Ray Bailey
(l-r) Dr. Grady Stumbo, Lee T. Todd Jr. and Benny Ray Bailey

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“The University of Kentucky Center for Rural Health acts as a catalyst by using a combination of academic training, policy research, and community outreach to improve the health, education and economies of rural residents, facilities and communities. 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. I would like to thank Congressman Rogers and the Kentucky Legislature for securing funds for this center, as well as Benny Ray Bailey and Grady Stumbo for all their support.”

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

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 19, 2004) -- A dedication ceremony was held today for the new University of Kentucky Center for Rural Health (UKCRH) Bailey-Stumbo Building. Located at 750 Morton Boulevard in Hazard, the building is named in honor of two Eastern Kentuckians who have played significant roles in improving health care within the region: Benny Ray Bailey and Dr. Grady Stumbo of East Kentucky Health Services Center, Inc. The first floor of the center was named in honor of U.S. Rep. Harold ”Hal” Rogers, Kentucky-5th Congressional District, for being a tireless advocate for the improved health, education and economic status of his constituents.

Participating in the official ceremony, in addition to Bailey, Stumbo and Rogers, were Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher, UK President Lee T. Todd Jr., UK Center for Rural Health Director Judy Jones, Hazard Mayor William “Bill” Gorman, Appalachian Regional HealthCare President and CEO Stephen Hanson, and Hazard Community and Technical College President Jay Box. The Presentation of Colors was provided by the Perry County Central Junior ROTC, and the national anthem was played by the Hazard High School Band of Gold.

The $13.1 million, state-of-the-art facility represents a unique collaboration of university, state, federal, and private funding sources. The new home of the Center for Rural Health is one of the 10 largest capital projects undertaken by the UK Chandler Medical Center in the past decade.

“The University of Kentucky Center for Rural Health acts as a catalyst by using a combination of academic training, policy research, and community outreach to improve the health, education and economies of rural residents, facilities and communities,” 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. I would like to thank Congressman Rogers and the Kentucky Legislature for securing funds for this center, as well as Benny Ray Bailey and Grady Stumbo for all their support.”

The building contains more than 57,000 square feet of space and houses the UK Family Medicine Clinic and its family practice and dental residency programs, nursing laboratories, a radiographic simulation area, clinical labs, and classrooms with distance-learning capability. Space is also provided for UKCRH and Hazard Community and Technical College’s physical therapy and PT assistant programs, a student learning center, as well as office space for UKCRH administrative functions and community outreach programs and office space for Hazard Community and Technical College and UKCRH faculty.

“Effective delivery of health care services is key to making rural economies thrive,” said Congressman Rogers. “Facilities such as the UK Center for Rural Health help curb out-migration, which historically has deprived this region of its greatest natural resource: its children. By training health professionals close to home, we are improving the chances that these bright young people will choose to work and live at home. This puts our native ingenuity to work for us in the prosperous medical services sector: high paying jobs as laboratory scientists, nurses, physical therapists and their assistants, and even family practice physicians.”

“There are strategies to improve the quality of health care without increasing costs,” said Governor Fletcher. “As a physician I have advocated providing affordable, accessible health care for every Kentuckian. The Center for Rural Health has served as a beacon to these ideals by administering such innovative programs as Kentucky Homeplace. This program uses resourceful citizens to help link people who cannot obtain health care with free doctor’s visits, prescription medicines, or safe housing.”

The new facility represents more than 14 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 ensure such a facility would be housed in a rural area.

Today, the center has grown into a successful organization with 129 employees statewide. Because of its 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, UK Center for Rural Health director. “The new building represents that unique collaboration among university, state, federal and private funding sources.”

Established in 1990 by the Kentucky General Assembly, the UK Center for Rural Health was created to improve the health of rural Kentuckians and strengthen rural communities. Based in Hazard, the center serves the entire state. By working with a statewide mission from within a rural setting, the center acts as a broker between rural needs, the University of Kentucky, and other urban resources.

Bringing health education to rural residents in their community, the center provides programs in nursing, physical therapy, clinical laboratory sciences, social work, and family practice residency. The programs are based on the model that students are more likely to practice a health profession in the area in which they received training.

The Center for Rural Health has contributed to improving health care services within the region by graduating 125 physical therapists, 105 nursing professionals, 70 clinical laboratory scientists, and 30 family practice physicians. About 75 percent of those graduates currently practice in rural, medically underserved areas of Kentucky.

The center’s leaders are aware of the economic contributions quality health care can make in rural communities. They have made it a national leader in developing programs that enable communities to measure the impact and use of health services to assist in community planning. One such example, Rural Health Works, is an assessment model jointly developed by the Center for Rural Health and the UK College of Agriculture to gauge the impact of existing or proposed health services on local economies.

Two nationally recognized lay health worker programs that are part of the center, Kentucky Homeplace and Southeast Kentucky Community Access Program (SKYCAP), are improving access to health care for thousands of rural residents. Last year, SKYCAP was one of seven initial recipients of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Innovation in Prevention Awards. The center also was named Outstanding Rural Health Program by the National Rural Health Association in recognition of its multi-faceted approach to addressing Kentucky’s rural health issues.


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