Jeremy Swiney, MD, became interested in medicine after shadowing his hometown physician while in high school. Growing up in Magoffin County, Ky., Dr. Swiney witnessed the impact local physicians had on his small town, igniting a passion for serving rural communities. 

Dr. Swiney is an alumnus of the UK College of Medicine’s Rural Physician Leadership Program (RPLP). Based in Morehead, Ky., the RPLP is designed to train future physicians and health care leaders to provide high-quality, compassionate care in rural settings. 

“Everyone in the program has such a strong love for their community,” shared Dr. Swiney. “It's hard to imagine making it through the entire process of becoming a doctor without the collective weight of the RPLP behind me."

Last year, St. Claire HealthCare, now under the UK HealthCare umbrella, launched an initiative to hire 50 physicians to serve in their rural location. Bodie Stevens, regional site administrator and unofficial “go-to guy” for all things RPLP, texted Swiney about the opportunity. 

Dr. Swiney immediately applied, eager to return to the community where he had trained years earlier. 

"The patients, staff, and physician group were supportive of my goals from the first time I set foot in the hospital," he noted, underscoring the collaborative culture that drew him back to St. Claire.

Reflecting on his motivation to return to Morehead, Dr. Swiney shared, "I loved the idea of medicine then, and still enjoy today, the ability to have such profound positive impacts on my patients' lives and help them during what is often their darkest moments."

Looking ahead, Dr. Swiney is eager to transition into a teaching and leadership role within the RPLP, aiming to nurture future generations of rural physicians. He will serve as the site director for internal medicine at the Morehead Campus. 

Rebecca Todd, MD, associate dean for RPLP, recalls a conversation with Dr. Swiney toward the end of his fourth year. “He was talking about how much he wanted to come back and work here one day,” she shared. 

“I just love seeing their dreams come true,” she said. “For him to be back, working where he was trained, to train future generations of RPLP students— it’s rewarding to see things come full circle.” 

Dr. Swiney expressed gratitude for the RPLP program and its role in shaping his career, as well as the careers of many other physicians committed to serving rural Kentucky. "I can't think of any one program that has had as much success training and returning highly talented physicians to rural Kentucky as the RPLP."

RPLP is an educational program based in Morehead, Ky., designed to train future physicians and health care leaders to provide high-quality, compassionate care in rural settings.