• 26 May 2017 11:05 AM | Tina McCormick (Administrator)

    Southern KY AHEC/KRHA welcome health communications intern

    The Southern Kentucky Area Health Education Center and the Kentucky Rural Health Association welcome Anna Poynter as the 2017 Kentucky Rural Health Communications Intern.

    Poynter, who will graduate from the University of the Cumberlands in 2018, is a double major in communications and public health.

    "I am excited to have this opportunity to intern for both AHEC and KRHA because I am getting to experience their missions firsthand, which are both to improve health in Kentucky,” Poynter said. ‘It’s an opportunity to apply what I have learned in creative ways and at the same time be a part of the important work that these organizations do.”

    The Centers for Disease Control defines health communication as "the study and use of communication strategies to inform and influence individual decisions that enhance health." Poynter will engage in a range of activities designed to promote health changes in individuals and rural communities, including message development, provider-patient communication studies, and the use of social and traditional media.

    The So KY AHEC/KRHA partnership means Poynter, who will work primarily out of the So. KY AHEC office at Rockcastle Regional Hospital in Mt. Vernon, will focus much of her work on the 15 counties of the So. KY AHEC region while also addressing issues that affect rural Kentuckians throughout the state.


    “We are excited for this opportunity to partner in the hosting of a health communications intern,” said Andrew Bledsoe, president of the KRHA. “Anna will get meaningful experience while providing us with a unique perspective as we work towards advancing our strategic objectives, many of which involve communications.”


    “We realize the importance of outreach to move this association forward,” said Tina McCormick, KRHA executive director. “I am thrilled to welcome Anna to our team as we work to improve the health of Kentuckians through education and advocacy.

    The So. KY AHEC created the internship in 2016 and seeks a new collaboration every year to assist with funding and direction. Last summer, the AHEC partnered with the Colon Cancer Prevention Project to create awareness of the need for colon cancer screenings. Intern Dalton Godbey, a communications major at Western Kentucky University, told the stories of colon cancer survivors throughout the region via newspaper articles and a video.

    The So. KY AHEC, one of eight regional AHECs throughout the state, focuses on improving the health of its 15-county region, from Madison County down to the Tennessee border, through education and workforce development. In addition to Continuing Education programs, the So. KY AHEC facilitates rural health professions student rotations, health careers promotion and education, health education, and community outreach.

    “This internship plays to the strengths of our AHEC,” said director Dwain Harris. “It allows us to educate while increasing our capacity as an outreach organization and statewide partner.”

    Poynter is no stranger to the AHECs, having been involved in multiple health career camps and other activities since she was in middle school.

    For more information about the So. KY AHEC’s Rural Health Communications internship, email dharris@soahec.org.

  • 13 Apr 2017 3:05 PM | Tina McCormick (Administrator)

    The Kentucky Rural Health Association invites you to submit a proposal for concurrent sessions (panel, individual or group) for the Annual Conference scheduled for November 16-17, 2017 at the WKU Knicely Center in Bowling Green, KY.

    Please see the attached call for proposals instructions for more details on how to submit a proposal. The disclosure form is also attached and will need to be uploaded when completing the proposal within the survey tool.

    Should you have any questions please contact Kayla Combs.

    • Please click here for KRHA Call for Proposals Instructions

  • 15 Feb 2017 7:30 AM | Tina McCormick (Administrator)

    Greetings from the Governance Committee!

    Our charge is to “oversee issues concerning the infrastructure of the Association, such as amendments to the bylaws, modifications and additions to the Policy Manual, and leadership development.” This year’s team consists of seven highly-engaged members: Bryant Hileman, Susan Starling, David Bolt, Steve Fisher, Benjamin Minnis, Christine Romani, and chair Julian Cunningham.

    We are excited about our goals for 2016-2017! We began by organizing a Special Meeting of the KRHA membership, which allowed the general membership to vote on amending the Articles of Incorporation. The meeting was scheduled and occurred on January 18 in Louisville. The amendment passed unanimously, which will ultimately modify KRHA’s tax-exempt status to 501(c)(3). This modification will have huge financial implications for the Association going forward; we will now be qualified for monies that we were previously ineligible for. 

    Other initiatives include:

    1) Defining the function and power of the Executive Committee

    2) Requiring board member participation on at least one committee

    3) Establishing an objective guideline for the nomination of board members

    4) Adjusting the nominating and voting procedures for board and officer positions

    5) Assessing bylaws against the 2015 amendments to KRS Chapter 273

    6) Evaluating portal capabilities to improve document storage and accessibility

    7) Developing a comprehensive policy manual and making necessary revisions to standing policies

    8) Establishing an objective guideline for managing sponsorship requests

    We look forward to helping KRHA be as effective and efficient as possible in assuring rural Kentuckians receive quality health care. If you have any questions or feedback, or if you would like to get involved, please contact Julian Cunningham at Julian.cunningham@uky.edu.
  • 13 Dec 2016 6:03 AM | Tina McCormick (Administrator)

    Amid evidence of its rural, Appalachian students’ low application and matriculation rates to in-state medical schools, the Northeast Kentucky Area Health Education Center (NE KY AHEC) has developed two physician pipeline programs designed to produce more – and more competitive – regional applicants. Results from these efforts were recently published in a rural health-themed supplement to the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved in an article titled “Priming the Physician Pipeline: A Regional AHEC’s Use of In-state Medical School Data to Guide Its Health Careers Programming.” The article was authored by NE KY AHEC Director David A. Gross, Assistant Director Lainey Mattox, and Marketing Assistant Nicole Winkleman.

    Prior studies cite multiple factors contributing to the longstanding shortage of physicians in Appalachian Kentucky, including a comparatively low number of native students who apply to and subsequently are accepted into medical school. To assess the situation within its service region, the NE KY AHEC collected county-level applicant and matriculant data from the state’s three medical schools for a five-year period (2009-’13). The findings were disturbing: fewer than 30% of northeastern Kentucky’s applicants were accepted into medical school, two counties had zero applicants, and 12 of the region’s 17 counties had four or fewer matriculants.

    To address these issues, the NE KY AHEC developed two health careers pipeline programs targeted toward college undergraduates:

    • The Summer Health Internship Program (SHIP), which places pre-medical and other health professions students in health-focused organizations for six-week paid internships; and

    • Successfully Training and Educating Pre-medical Students (STEPS), which provides students with Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) reviews and a practice exam, physician shadowing, an application process tutorial, mock interviews, and other activities aimed at preparing them for acceptance into medical school.  

    Since 2013, the NE KY AHEC’s physician pipeline programs have yielded positive results. At the time the article was submitted, three cohorts had completed SHIP, with a total of 21 participants.  Of these, eight pre-medicine students had matriculated to or been accepted by a medical school. Two cohorts had completed STEPS, with a total of 18 participants. Average MCAT scores of STEPS participants increased by 4.6 points in 2014 and 7.6 points in 2015 – and, of the 16 students who met all program requirements, 14 had matriculated to or been accepted by a medical school.

    “The goal of this Federal Office of Rural Health Policy-supported issue was to highlight promising solutions to longstanding rural health challenges,” Gross said. “Rural physician shortages have been an intractable problem across Kentucky, but following implementation of our programs, the number of in-state medical school applicants and matriculants from the Northeast Kentucky AHEC region increased in both 2014 and 2015. These preliminary outcomes suggest additional analysis of such programs is warranted to assess their long-term impact in alleviating the rural provider shortages in Kentucky and elsewhere.”

    As a result of the journal publication, STEPS also was recently featured on the federally funded Rural Health Information Hub’s Models and Innovations web page here.

    (Blog by David A. Gross, MPA, Director, Northeast Kentucky Area Health Education Center)

  • 06 Dec 2016 9:01 AM | Tina McCormick (Administrator)

    As a way to showcase the variety of KRHA members, we are pleased to introduce our New Member Spotlight as a component of our KRHA blog series!

    This edition’s New Member Spotlight is on Pain Management Group.

    About PMG:

    Pain Management Group (PMG) is a leading provider of balanced, quality, hospital-based pain management centers. PMG specializes in joint venture partnerships with hospitals to develop and operate pain management facilities that provide patients with the highest level of health care.

    Their diversely talented team works closely with partnering hospitals to organize pain as a service line and maximize hospital resources and services. PMG contracted physicians work with hospital clinical staff in a program that strengthens communities by helping patients return to work and a life uninhibited by pain.

    Why did you join KRHA?

    Christina Muryn, Business Development Manager, explains that as they seek to expand their partnerships, build more relationships within the industry, and identify significant areas for growth, joining KRHA was a great fit. The opportunity to network and get more involved in the area was a large reason for wanting to join.

    “We joined KRHA for a few different reasons, mostly to meet new hospitals and other partners. We look forward to sharing our quality programming with those we meet through this organization” said Muryn.  

    Pain Management Group is also a Bronze Sponsor of the KRHA.

    (Article by: Taylor Readnower, Program Associate, Southern KY Area Health Education Center)

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