National Rural Health Day Nov. 20

Staff Report

The National Center for Rural Health Professions (NCRHP) at the University of Illinois Rockford campus will join the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) and other state/national rural stakeholders in celebrating National Rural Health Day Thursday, Nov. 20.

NOSORH created National Rural Health Day as a way to showcase rural America; increase awareness of rural health-related issues; and promote the efforts of NOSORH, State Offices of Rural Health and others in addressing those issues.

The NCRHP is planning to mark the occasion by holding a reception from 12:30 to 2 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 21, in the Partner’s Pavilion on the University of Illinois Rockford campus at 1601 Parkview Ave., Rockford. The celebration will include presenting Pat Schou, executive director of ICAHN, with its “Rural Health Hero” award, an award given annually to a person or organization that has worked tirelessly in the state of Illinois to improve the health or health care system of rural Illinois communities.

Dr. Michael Glasser, associate dean of NCRHP, said: “Pat Schou is a true advocate and hero for rural health in Illinois. Her commitment, insight and collaborative approach have made a difference in the quality of care available for people and their communities.”

Other festivities include viewing rural health poster presentations, a photo contest for health professions students at the University of Illinois Rockford campus depicting rural life, and networking with rural health professions students and professionals.

Approximately 62 million people — nearly one in five Americans — live in rural and frontier communities throughout the United States. “These small towns, farming communities and frontier areas are wonderful places to live and work; they are places where neighbors know each other and work together,” said NOSORH Director Teryl Eisinger. “The hospitals and providers serving these rural communities not only provide quality patient care, but they also help keep good jobs in rural America.”

These communities also face unique health care needs. “Today, more than ever, rural communities must tackle accessibility issues, a lack of health care providers, the needs of an aging population suffering from a greater number of chronic conditions, and larger percentages of un- and underinsured citizens,” Eisinger said. “Meanwhile, rural hospitals are threatened with declining reimbursement rates and disproportionate funding levels that makes it challenging to serve their residents.”

The NCRHP supports rural citizens through programs such as the Rural Medical Education (RMED) Program. Now in its 21st year, RMED was developed in response to the problem of limited access to health care for Illinois’ rural residents. Since its inception in 1993, the University of Illinois RMED Program has graduated 258 physicians; 192 graduates are in practice with an additional 66 graduates in residency training. The majority of RMED graduates (73 percent) have remained in Illinois and are practicing in 80 different Illinois communities. Seventy-five percent of graduates practice in towns of fewer than 20,000 people. In August, RMED was awarded the Illinois Rural Health Association’s Award of Merit.

Additional information about National Rural Health Day can be found on the web at www.celebratepowerofrural.org. To learn more about NOSORH, visit www.nosorh.org; to learn more about the National Center for Rural Health Professions, visit http://www.ncrhp.uic.edu/. For more information or to RSVP for the event, contact Mark Meurer at (815) 395-5782 or email mmeurer@uic.edu.

Posted Nov. 19, 2014

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