Matthew Coleman is new director of state Office of Rural Health

By Beth Bowling

University of Kentucky

HAZARD, Ky. — Matthew Coleman has been named director of the Kentucky Office of Rural Health at the Hazard-based University of Kentucky Center of Excellence in Rural Health, effective July 1. He succeeds Ernie Scott, who died unexpectedly March 12.

Coleman has more than a decade of experience in health care and public education and has served in various roles at the KORH since 2021, working as a project manager and a program specialist.

As director, Coleman will oversee a number of federally funded programs, including the Small Rural Hospital Improvement Grant Program, the Kentucky State Loan Repayment Program, the Kentucky Rural Hospital Flexibility Program, and a variety of other services and activities geared toward veterans, emergency-management leadership, rural health clinics and critical-access hospitals.

“We are pleased to welcome Matt into his new role as a strong leader who possesses the education, knowledge and experience to bring leadership to KORH” and the Center of Excellence in Rural Health “as we strive to improve the health and well-being of the Commonwealth,” center director Fran Feltner said. As the federally designated state office of rural health, her center oversees KORH.

Coleman said, “During my time at KORH, I have been fortunate to work with a great team and to collaborate with hospitals, clinics and many community partners. I look forward to building upon this foundation to continue engaging with rural stakeholders with a focus on advancing rural health across the state.”

Coleman holds a master’s degree in strategic management from the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg and a bachelor’s degree in education from Morehead State University. He lives in Beattyville with his wife Glenna and their four children.

The Kentucky Office of Rural Health is a federal-state partnership authorized by a 1990 federal law passed to promote access to rural health services. KORH helps clinicians, administrators and consumers find ways to improve communications, finances, and access to quality health care while ensuring that funding agencies and policymakers are made aware of the needs of rural communities. It provides a framework for linking small rural communities with local, state and federal resources while working toward long-term solutions to rural health issues.
A 1990 state law created the Center of Excellence in Rural Health to address health disparities in rural Kentucky and unique challenges faced by rural communities. Its mission remains to improve the health and well-being of rural Kentuckians.
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