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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.

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