Summer Externship Program brings UofL Medical Students to Region
Beginning June 1, Benjamin Neltner, a rising second-year medical student at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, will embark on a new four-week externship program in Morehead hosted by the Northeast Kentucky Area Health Education Center (NE KYAHEC). The University of Louisville Rural Medicine Summer Externship will establish a community-based learning opportunity for UofL medical students in the region, making St. Claire Regional Medical Center one of the few facilities in which students from all three in-state medical schools can train and learn together.
Borne from a suggestion by state Rep. Rocky Adkins, the UofL externship is the first step toward potentially creating a more permanent hub site in the region, allowing UofL students interested in rural medicine to complete their third and fourth years of medical school in Morehead. The NE KY AHEC already coordinates clinical hub sites for both the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and the University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine. Allopathic and osteopathic students from these medical schools collaborate and share learning experiences through didactic sessions, workshops, and networking opportunities.
“After learning that [medical] students from the University of Kentucky and the University of Pikeville were participating in this important opportunity, I sought ways to expand the program to include students from the University of Louisville School of Medicine as well,” Adkins said. “This externship provides an opportunity to expand the number of medical students who are able to learn family medicine in a rural setting and serve the Morehead community and the surrounding region in the process.”
The summer externship will expose Neltner and future participants to family/community medicine in a rural setting through learning experiences supervised by Dr. Amy Conley-Sallaz, a graduate of the UofL School of Medicine and a clinical preceptor for the NE KY AHEC. Conley also is the site director for the St. Claire Regional/University of Kentucky Family Medicine Residency Program in Morehead.
Neltner, from Lakeside Park in Kenton County, will develop an appreciation for community service and the contributions physicians can make to their communities through such service. Students will be exposed to family/community medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, weekly didactics with residents and other medical students, chamber of commerce meetings, hospice/palliative care, emergency medicine, and nursing home care, among other activities.
While University of Louisville medical students currently complete short-term clinical rotations in the NE KY AHEC region, incorporating them into a clinical hub site atmosphere will enhance students’ learning experience, strengthening all three medical programs.
“At the Northeast AHEC, our response to the health care needs of our region is marked by collaboration, not competition,” said Dr. Anthony Weaver, medical director for the NE KY AHEC. “We are the only site in Kentucky collaborating with all three Kentucky medical schools for clinical education. This externship begins a process that will allow any student from our region, regardless of which medical school they attend, to receive their clinical training in northeastern Kentucky.”