Allison Rankin and Kayla Rankin
Allison Rankin and Kayla Rankin

Kayla Rankin is following in her mom’s footsteps – growing up in Spalding, Neb., fulfilling their potential with an education at UNMC, then returning to their rural roots to meet the health care needs of their fellow Nebraskans in underserved areas of the state.

Allison Rankin enrolled in UNMC’s physical therapy program after graduating from the University of Nebraska-Kearney in 1998, with 2-year-old Kayla in tow. She recalls studying at UNMC with her toddler alongside her, Kayla going through her own picture books.

Allison returned to her hometown of Spalding, after graduation, working at the Boone County Health Center in Albion.

Kayla grew up on a cattle ranch – and around rural health care. She eventually realized it was her dream, too, and enrolled in the UNMC physician assistant program at the state-of-the-art Health Science Education Complex on the UNK campus. This past December, she was in UNMC’s first graduating Kearney class.

“It’s been a goal of mine, since I entered the program to serve in rural communities,” Kayla said. “It’s tough to know there are families who do not get the health care they need because of where they live. I want to change that disparity.”

Another reason why, in Nebraska, we can live a country lifestyle not in spite of our university, but in many ways, because of it.