UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health introduces three new programs

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Published: Apr. 10, 2023 at 7:01 PM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - The UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health (UK CERH) held an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony to introduce three new programs that will impact future healthcare workers here in the mountains.

“The University of Kentucky says we’re the university for Kentucky, and so reaching out to rural is very important,” said UK CERH Director Frances Feltner.

The programs introduced include the Appalachian Center for Assistive Technology (ACAT), Kentucky Homeplace Community Health Worker (CHW) Training Center, Systems Integrated Modeling and Simulation (SIMS) Lab.

The SIMS Lab offers state-of-the-art simulation models that give family medicine residents hands-on experience needed to treat patients.

“There’s been such a change with COVID recently as far as patient experiences for our residents and honestly, they had limited experience during those times, so this is just another tool we can use to help further their education,” said Dr. Jordan Adams, UK East KY Family Medicine Residency Program Director.

ACAT offers opportunities for students to refurbish and create new assistive technology, even offering a chance for local high school students to learn these skills.

“We are now able to build, to create, experiment with ways we can adapt different equipment and that’s also part of our larger project where we are working with the high school students here, so we are working with students from Perry Central as well as Hazard Independent on adapting the community,” Dr. Patrick Kitzman, Appalachian Center for Assistive Tech. Director.

Kentucky Homeplace Community Health Worker (CHW) Training Center also offers dual credit opportunities for high school students, allowing them to earn high school and college credit at the same time.

Those with the center said their goal is to offer cutting edge opportunities to healthcare students in Eastern Kentucky.

“To have a sims lab this sophisticated in rural, to be able to train community health workers in rural Kentucky really teaches them about rural,” said Feltner. “Really, the goal is to train people in rural, they’ll stay in rural to practice.”