The award is presented to a regional academic medical program that has a positive impact on the community it serves and shows success in achieving a part of the medical school’s social mission.
Begun in 1998 by UofL and the Trover Health System (now Baptist Health Madisonville) under the leadership of William J. Crump, M.D., the Trover Rural Track has several components, all with the same goal: to address the shortage of physicians in medically underserved rural areas.
More than two-thirds of Kentucky’s counties – 81 out of 120, and nearly all of them rural – are officially designated health professional shortage areas (HPSAs) for primary care by the Health Resources and Services Administration. Nationally, only about one-fourth of the United States’ 3,082 counties are wholly designated as primary care HPSAs.
Baptist Health hosts the Trover Campus in Madisonville, Ky., serving a population of 300,000 in 12 counties with a group practice of more than 75 physicians in more than 25 specialties; a 410-bed hospital with 100 physicians on staff; up-to-date diagnostic and treatment technologies; a comprehensive cancer treatment facility and more.
“The idea is simple,” said Crump, who is associate dean for the Trover Campus and co-directs the campus with Steve Fricker, director of rural health/student affairs. “The best way to get doctors to small towns is to get medical students from small towns. Our program strives to provide first-class, individualized clinical training in an environment that allows students to experience the benefits of small-town life.”
The Trover Campus sponsors High School Rural Scholar and College Rural Scholar programs that help students from the region gain admission to medical school. Summer programs in Madisonville held after students’ first year of medical school in Louisville help them stay connected to the region. A student-led free clinic at the campus provides primary care services to the area’s low-income and uninsured population while giving students valuable training as part of their medical school curriculum.
The Trover Campus’ newest component reached an important milestone in May when Ashley Jessup of Benton, Ky., became the first graduate of its Rural Medical Accelerated Track. This track enables students to finish medical school in three years, reducing both the cost and length of their education and training.
“I cannot think of a group that has developed more innovative and comprehensive programs that have positively impacted the community they serve than the Trover Campus at UofL,” said David L. Wiegman, Ph.D., associate vice president for health affairs at UofL, in making the nomination for the award. “In fact, this program that originated at a regional rural campus is now being looked at for implementation here in Louisville with a focus on the urban uninsured.”
Crump sees the goal of increasing the numbers of physicians in rural areas as challenging but achievable. “Most of the counties in Kentucky that are underserved are only underserved by an average of 1.5 full-time equivalent positions,” he said. “This means that placing just one more physician permanently in a county may move it from being an underserved to an adequately served county.”
About the AAMC
The Association of American Medical Colleges is a not-for-profit association representing all 141 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 51 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and nearly 90 academic and scientific societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC represents 148,000 faculty members, 83,000 medical students, and 110,000 resident physicians. Additional information about the AAMC and U.S. medical schools and teaching hospitals is available at www.aamc.org