The University of Kentucky College of Medicine congratulates two outstanding medical students for receiving the inaugural Anthem Rural Medicine Scholarships, funded by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Medicaid in Kentucky.

Makayla Arnett and Harrison Fouch, two fourth-year students graduating from the UK College of Medicine’s Rural Physician Leadership Program (RPLP) in Morehead, Ky., received the scholarships as part of Anthem’s recent partnership with the University to train more physicians and advance health care in rural, underserved areas. 

These scholarships, part of a series of seven awards totaling $100,000, will be awarded over the next four years to fourth-year RPLP students who demonstrate financial need and a commitment to practice medicine in rural areas upon completion of their residency.

“I know a lot of us were really excited about being the first class to even get this opportunity to apply for the scholarship, so I was in complete shock when I heard mine and Harrison’s names,” Arnett said. “I’m very honored.”

Arnett and Fouch were presented the scholarships by Rebecca Todd, MD, RPLP associate dean, on March 15, 2024, during the college’s Match Day celebration. Match Day is when fourth-year medical students across the country simultaneously learn where they will pursue a residency program after graduation. 

Both Arnett and Fouch share dreams of serving rural communities and are the first in their families to pursue medical careers. Arnett will join the obstetrics and gynecology residency program at TriHealth in Cincinnati, Ohio. Fouch will complete a preliminary year in surgery, followed by diagnostic radiology training at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Ky. 

Fouch is from Rowan County, Ky., where UK’s Morehead site is located. Having grown up seeing his family members struggle with ailments such as lung cancer, he finds it “really gratifying” to have financial support for his medical education so he can help advance health care through radiology.

“I went into medical school knowing Kentucky has some of the highest cancer rates and cancer mortality rates in the entire country,” Fouch said. “But I also just knew that I wanted a specialty that would allow me to impact a big portion of my community.”

Arnett, who is from Clark County, Ky., is similarly inspired by the possibility of helping her family and community through medicine.

“In medical school, you hear all of these terms I grew up hearing – diabetes, high blood pressure, heart failure, cancer – and those are all something my family members have been affected by,” Arnett said. “This region is something I hold near and dear to my heart. Being able to provide medicine and have that compassionate patient care interaction as someone they can trust is something that has always been important to me.”

Thanks to the Anthem scholarships, Arnett and Fouch can pursue their dream without the added burden of medical school debt. 

“The financial burden of medical school is something you think about even as far back as when you're applying,” Fouch said. “Learning that I received the scholarship was a massive relief.”

“Ensuring access to quality health care is a cornerstone of our mission at Anthem. We are immensely proud to support the next generation of health care leaders in Kentucky, particularly in rural areas where the need is substantial,” said Leon Lamoreaux, president, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Medicaid in Kentucky. “These scholarships are a long-term strategic investment in exemplary students like Makayla and Harrison, who represent the future of health care in rural and underserved communities. We are deeply committed to our partnership with the University of Kentucky and look forward to the transformative impact that these and future scholarship recipients will have across the Commonwealth.”