$16M grant at U of L given to increase health care access in underserved areas

Published 4:16 pm Monday, October 9, 2023

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) – The University of Louisville announced Monday it received a $16 million federal grant to help increase Kentuckians’ access to health care, particularly in the state’s underserved rural and urban areas.

The U of L School of Medicine will use the funds from a four-year grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to train more primary care physicians and encourage them to practice in underserved communities where they are needed.

Kentucky has a severe shortage of health care providers, according to UofL, with at least some portion of 113 of the state’s 120 counties designated as Health Professional Shortage Areas, including parts of Jefferson County.  Recent projections rank Kentucky lowest among the states in meeting the need for primary care physicians by 2025.

To attract and train medical students with an interest in practicing primary care in medically underserved communities, the School of Medicine will enhance existing programs that train students in the underserved rural environments, assist individuals from other careers who want to prepare for medical school, create a new program to train medical students in an urban environment, and provide scholarships to support students financially in all these programs.

“The UofL School of Medicine is honored to have been selected as a recipient of the HRSA grant and is committed to creating pathways that support workforce development for primary care careers in medically underserved regions,” said Jeffrey Bumpous, interim dean for the UofL School of Medicine and vice president of medical affairs.  “University leaders recognize the projects and programs supported by this funding are critical to the institutional mission of both the university and the School of Medicine and aim to sustain the efforts beyond the four-year term.”

Medical students in U of L’s Trover Rural Track complete their final two years of medical school at Trover Campus, located in Madisonville, Kentucky, hosted by Baptist Health Deaconess Madisonville.  Of the 170 physicians who have graduated from the Trover Rural Track so far, 75% practice primary care and 43% practice in rural communities.

“We are able to get more rural students into medical school and then into rural practice by supporting them all the way through the process, starting with high school,” said William J. Crump, associate dean of the UofL School of Medicine Trover Campus.  “This grant holds the promise of enlarging our campus, but most importantly building an urban underserved counterpart.”