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Denton earns national award for commitment to rural health
Kacie Hoyle Denton

JOHNSON CITY (May 21, 2019) – Kacie Hoyle Denton, a fourth-year student at East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine, received the John Snow Inc. National Rural Health Association Student Achievement Award at the National Rural Health Association Annual Conference in Atlanta earlier this month.

This award honors one student each year for commitment and excellence in the field of rural health. Denton is a member of the Rural Primary Care Track at Quillen College of Medicine. She is also an active member of the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) through the student constituency group and the Rural Health Association of Tennessee.

“Our mission at Quillen is to educate future physicians to practice in underserved rural communities, so it is very gratifying that one of our students was recognized on a national platform for her commitment to this important, and often overlooked, population,” said Dr. Joe Florence, professor and director of Rural Programs. “Kacie’s enthusiasm for rural health is evident in her hard work and her passion for rural health issues. She strives to make a difference in the lives of patients and their communities, and we are proud of her achievements.”

Denton, of Unicoi, has volunteered at several free rural clinics, Remote Area Medical, the Crumley House and her local food pantry.

She believes that the goals of rural medicine should be extended internationally and has travelled to Belize four times during her medical school career, where she has delivered clinical care and researched the needs of those living in rural Belize. She has completed several research projects in hopes of benefitting Body and Soul Ministries, a non-profit aimed at caring for rural villages in Belize.

Her love for rural medicine encouraged her to graduate with her Master of Public Health from ETSU’s College of Public Health during her third year of medical school. She has presented at several conferences, including the NRHA annual conference. She will graduate in May 2020, and plans to combine her love for rural medicine, pediatrics and public health.

“I am so grateful to be part of the student constituency group of NRHA,” Denton said. “And I am excited to continue a deeper relationship with the NRHA as we further causes associated with rural health.”

Quillen College of Medicine’s Rural Primary Care Track (RPCT) is a four-year, community-based experiential curriculum whose core goals emphasize community, rural culture, interdisciplinary team interactions and leadership development. Medical students who pursue this track gain educational experiences in rural communities, located within an hour’s drive of campus. The program is ideal for students who prefer early rural clinical and community experiences.

To learn more about Quillen College of Medicine’s Rural Programs, visit

Media contact
Melissa Nipper

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