Outreach Dept: RHES
Program: Kansas Bridging Plan
A significant number of family medicine physicians who have completed their training at the University of Kansas Medical Center explore rural Kansas practice opportunities. These physicians choose a rural practice for a variety of reasons: here's a glimpse at some of their stories.
Clint Colberg, M.D. was born and raised in Lyons. He graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Science in Education. Dr. Colberg then received his medical degree from the KU School of Medicine. He was active in the Family Medicine Interest Group and was elected president both the Kansas City and Wichita campuses.
He is practicing in Holton with the Holton Community Hospital as a family physician, doing endoscopy as well as obstetrics with cesarean sections.
Dr. Colberg says he enjoys small town life. “I wanted to practice in a small town because of the flexibility it provides,” said Dr. Colberg. “I enjoy the people who are down to earth and hard working.”
With a wife and two children, he says he wants his children to grow up with the same experiences he had.
“It is a safe environment and they can participate in all kinds of activities, said Dr. Colberg. “They can pursue whatever their interests are.
Martin Dillow, M.D., returned to his hometown of Chanute in 2008 to practice family medicine at Ashley Clinic, LLC. Dr. Dillow graduated from Emporia State University with a Bachelor of Science degree. He then attended medical school at KU School of Medicine and finished residency with Via Christi. Dr. Dillow was Chief Resident 2007-2008.
“I looked forward to returning home to practice family medicine including obstetrics, children's health and adult care,” said Dr. Dillow.
Angela Stueve, M.D., has a family medicine position with Nemaha Valley Community Hospital in Seneca. She works with three other family physicians and a nurse practitioner at Seneca Family Practice and provides emergency room coverage along with the other providers at the hospital during the week. Her practice includes obstetrics.
After growing up in Meriden, a small town in northeast Kansas, Dr. Stueve graduated from Washburn University with a degree in Biology and then attended medical school at the KU Medical Center.
Dr. Stueve says she enjoys the challenge and variety that comes with practicing in a small town and looks forward to the relationships that she will develop with patients and their families.
“I chose a rural practice because my husband and I grew up in a small town and that is the environment we would like to raise our children in,” said Dr. Stueve. “Also, I think there is a tremendous opportunity for family physicians to positively impact the health of individuals in rural Kansas who may not have access to health care otherwise.”
Also born and raised in rural areas are Justin Overmiller, M.D., and Jason Cheney, M.D. Dr. Overmiller returned to his hometown of Smith Center to practice family medicine. After graduating from the KU School of Medicine, he completed residency through the Smoky Hill Residency program. Dr. Cheney is from Hunter and moved to Beloit to practice family medicine. He finished his residency with Via Christi Family Medicine Residency Program after graduating from KU School of Medicine.
Kerry Fellows, M.D., of Concordia, also practices in rural Kansas. After earning her medical degree from KU School of Medicine, she completed her residency with the KU Medical Center family medicine program. Dr. Fellows practices the full spectrum of family medicine at Miami County Medical Center.
While doing a rotation in Paola as a medical student, Dr. Fellows remembers being in Walmart and hearing a little girl who she had seen at the clinic that day, call out her name. That sense of familiarity is what brings her to rural Kansas.
“I grew up in a small town and I think there is a sense of community you might not have in a larger city,” said Dr. Fellow.
Wendell Ellis, D.O., started his career as a small town family practice physician in Tribune. "If I'm happy with the practice, if my family is happy with the town and if the town's happy with me, I could conceivably be there my entire career," he said in 1993, fresh out of residency through the Smoky Hill program.
Now, 20 years later, he practices at both Greeley County Family Practice Clinic in Tribune and the Wallace County Family Practice Clinic in nearby Sharon Springs.
"By the grace of God, I've been here for 20 years and participate in the lives of those in this community," he said. "Hopefully I will get to continue to do so for a while longer."
Each of these physicians participated in the Kansas Bridging Plan (KBP). KBP aids in the efforts of increasing the number of family physicians in rural Kansas. Resident physicians who participate in the Kansas Bridging Plan agree to practice medicine full-time in the self-selected rural community for 36 continuous months upon completion of their residency training program in exchange for loan forgiveness. For the purposes of the Kansas Bridging Plan, a rural community constitutes any community not located in Douglas, Johnson, Sedgwick, Shawnee or Wyandotte counties.