Meet our Director

Photo of Fran Feltner, Director

Dr. Feltner is the Director of the University of Kentucky, College of Medicine, Center of Excellence in Rural Health, located in Hazard, Kentucky. She also has joint appointments as adjunct faculty in the College of Nursing and College of Health Science and as Assistant Professor in the College of Medicine, Family and Community Medicine Department. Dr. Feltner received her Doctorate in Nursing Practice from the University of Kentucky, College of Nursing and a Masters in Advanced Practice Rural Public Health Nursing – Administration from Eastern Kentucky University.

Dr. Feltner has worked for more than 40 years in rural health care, from serving as a nurse in clinical and hospital settings, working with family practice residency and providing community education to her current role as director. One of her most important roles has been working with the community health worker (CHW) program.  Since 1994, the Center has developed and improved the scope of practice and training curriculum for CHWs within Kentucky Homeplace. The Center has provided training for CHWs and patient navigators across the state of Kentucky as well as other states throughout the nation. Presently, Dr. Feltner serves as the Principal Investigator of Kentucky Homeplace, which has been recognized at the local, state and national level as a CHW model that works. Most recently her programs have been recognized by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Healthy People 2020 and the national Rural Assistance Center (RAC) for successful Models in Innovation.

Dr. Feltner’s work has focused on empowering the communities she serves to directly address the health disparities that affect them so seriously. Her current research interests are health disparities in Appalachia, effectiveness of CHWs on patient health outcomes, and finding solutions to the problems and barriers of the health and social system. She has been involved with numerous research projects that have focused on health disparities, including work on diabetes, heart disease, women’s depression, and cancer (lung, colon, breast, and cervical cancers). Dr. Feltner has published in the areas of health disparities and cancer. She has co-authored several articles including, “Mental Health Treatment Seeking Patterns and Preferences of Appalachian Women with Depression” in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, “Identifying Community Perspectives for a Lung Cancer Screening Awareness Campaign in Appalachia Kentucky: The Terminate Lung Cancer (TLC) Study” in the Journal of Cancer Education, “Effectiveness of an Intervention for Adherence to Follow-Up Recommendations for Abnormal Pap Tests in Appalachian Kentucky” in Health Behavior and Policy Review, “Cervical Cancer Screening:  Exploring Appalachian Patients’ Barriers to Follow Up Care” in the Social Work in Health Care journal, and “Effectiveness of Community Health Workers in Providing Outreach and Education for Colorectal Screening in Appalachian Kentucky” in the Social Work in Health Care journal. Most recently, she co-authored the article, “Improving Diabetes Outcomes (I DO): Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Nurse-Led Community Health Worker-Coordinated Diabetes Self-Management Education Intervention in an Appalachian Population” which has been submitted to the Journal of Diabetes Research.  Her other publications can be found at