Meet our Director

Photo of Fran Feltner, Director

Dr. Feltner is a native of where she lives and works which fuels a flame of motivation that is impossible to extinguish. Longstanding personal relationships with local people and intimate familiarity with local culture provide her with a unique depth of understanding about the health, social and economic challenges faced by fellow community members, particularly the most vulnerable and underserved. Challenges like these can seem overwhelming, frustrating and heartbreaking, particularly when they impact one’s self or friends, family members or neighbors. Such circumstances often require a new trail to be blazed and that is where strong and passionate leaders like Dr. Feltner rise to the challenge.  

Dr. Feltner is a teacher, mentor, researcher and health advocate. She has served as a principal investigator and co-investigator on numerous health disparities research studies in collaboration with bench scientists, social scientists and clinicians at the University of Kentucky. She has authored and co-authored numerous articles about rural health for peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Feltner is a compelling spokesperson for the public health of our most vulnerable populations and has testified in Washington D.C. before multiple congressional subcommittees in support of federal patient navigation bills. She has also been integrally involved with educational efforts at the UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health, providing training for residents, graduate students, and others. She has promoted junior researchers’ efforts to improve the health of rural Kentuckians. She has been integrally involved in training community leaders in evidence-based programming to improve public health.

Dr. Feltner’s efforts have been recognized with a number of distinguished honors and awards including, but not limited to:

  • The 2016 Dan Martin Lifetime Achievement in Rural Health Award from the Kentucky Rural Health Association
  • The 2016 Paul Mason Memorial Award from the Kentucky Public Health Association
  • The Southern Health Association’s Charles G. Jordan Memorial Award, in recognition of her contributions to public health
  • The 2015 Health Impact Award, presented by Congressman Hal Rogers
  • Recognition in Healthy People 2020 for Kentucky Homeplace: Improving Colorectal Cancer Screening Rates Through Tailored, Community-Based Approaches

Dr. Feltner 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. She 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.