It’s not often that health center clinicians who toil away in medically underserved communities are singled out for the spotlight but that’s exactly what happened to Van Breeding, MD, the Director of Clinical Affairs at Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation (MCHC). Dr. Breeding could have gone anywhere after graduating and completing his residency at the University of Kentucky, but he chose to return to his hometown of Whitesburg, a pocket of eastern Kentucky with some of the highest rates of obesity, tobacco use, diabetes cancer, and most respiratory ailments associated with mining coal, such as “black lung.”
In a recent interview with Health Leaders Media, Breeding explained that going any place else was never a consideration. “I grew up in this town. I went to high school in this town. All of my family is this town. My patients are either family or friends of mine.”
Breeding’s dedication to his job and patients (he typically works a 16-hour day) is why Breeding has been named Staff Care’s 2017 Country Doctor of the Year . The national award, established in 1992, was established as a way to recognize rural physicians. “The selection committee was greatly impressed by the many years of commitment and devotion you have shown to the people of Whitesburg, Kentucky, and the surrounding areas in the face of extraordinary professional and personal challenges. As a mainstay of primary care in Whitesburg, you have provided an exemplary level of care and compassion to your patients.”
Breeding is passionate about his patients, and about access to care, and was recently interviewed on ABC News about the impact of the state’s Medicaid expansion on his patients.