Kentucky Office of Rural Health awarded for creativity in health care education

By Hayley Robb, Building Kentucky

Front row: Ernie Scott, Kayla Combs and Alice Combs. Back row: Scott Helle, Marcus Pigman and Michael McGill. Not pictured: Lisa Garza and Caleb Williams. 

The Kentucky Office of Rural Health (KORH), located in Hazard, recently received the Excellence in Education Award, one of the annual MediStar awards given to health care organizations and professionals in Kentucky and southern Indiana. The awards are presented by IGE Media, publisher of Medical News.

The award is given to an organization that takes creative approaches to developing and leading programs that support educational and career opportunities for health care professionals. This year, 10 organizations were nominated for the award.

“Being selected as the recipient of the Excellence in Education Award is a great honor and a testament to the hard work and creativity demonstrated by our entire staff,” KORH director Ernie Scott said in a news release.

Whether it’s clinicians, hospital administrators, EMS professionals or health professions students, Scott said the educational program KORH offers aims to help those individuals grow, filling any training or knowledge gaps along the way.

“And, as a result, helps those individuals and organizations to improve the health of their communities,” Scott said.

KORH hosts annual telehealth clinics like the Kentucky Telehealth summits and offers face-to-face and webinar-based training on many topics including: grant writing, quality improvement and clinic regulations to leadership development, loan repayment and scholarship opportunities for students.

This year, KORH offered COVID-19 related guidance and recently began the EMS Leadership Academy, helping EMS professionals gain the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in future leadership roles.

Dr. Fran Feltner, director of the University of Kentucky Center of Excellence, which serves as the federal arm of KORH, congratulated the team’s continued success providing individuals with education, training and assistance in building community capacity amidst the pandemic.

“Their dedication and the work they do at the local, state and national level is truly strengthening the health care workforce and improving the health and well-being of the people we serve,” Dr. Feltner said.

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