(Salt Lake City, UT) – For the first time ever, on November 17, 2011, the nation is recognizing the importance of rural health by celebrating National Rural Health Day. In Utah, Governor Gary Herbert named October Rural Health Month and Rural Health Practitioner Recognition Month. The designation is aimed at reinforcing the commitment from all sectors to improve access to and quality of health service in Utah’s rural communities.
Teryl Eisinger, Director of the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) explains, “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 uninsured and under-insured citizens.”
Utah statistics underscore the need to focus on small communities. One in every four Utahns lives in a rural (more than six but fewer than 100 people per square mile) or frontier (six or fewer people per square mile) county. Of Utah’s 29 counties, four are urban, 12 are rural, and 13 are frontier.
Events recognizing National Rural Health Day and “Celebrating the Power of Rural” are planned throughout the nation. In Utah, the Tooele County Health Department (TCHD) is presenting TOP Star (Targeting Obesity in Preschool and Child Care Settings) workshops at Kids R People Too Day Care in Wendover, UT on November 17 and 18, 2011 for day care staff members. The workshops will address childhood obesity, nutrition in child care settings, and personal health. For more information on this program, visit http://health.utah.gov/obesity/pages/TOPSTAR.php.
In Summit County, the Summit County Health Department will promote National Rural Health Awareness Day using local media.
The Utah State Office of Primary Care and Rural Health will hold a seminar on Diabetes and Rural Communities presented by Eileen DeLeeuw, MS, RD, CDE, Diabetes Coalition Coordinator, Tooele County Health Department. The seminar will be held November 17, 2011, from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm at 3760 S. Highland Dr., 5th Floor Board Room. The seminar will also be available online. To register for the online presentation, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 801-273-6620 with your name, organization name, and telephone number.
All 50 states maintain a State Office of Rural Health (SORH) to foster relationships, disseminate information, and provide technical assistance that improves access to, and quality of, health care for its rural citizens. As Utah’s SORH, the Utah Office of Primary Care and Rural Health (OPCRH) contributes $540,000 in grants to rural health organizations to support access to primary care, mental health, and dental care. Additionally, OPCRH provides more than $160,000 in grants to rural hospitals to support projects to improve health care in their communities.
For more information about National Rural Health Day, visit www.celebratepowerofrural.org. To learn more about NOSORH, visit www.nosorh.org. And for more information about the Utah Office of Primary Care and Rural Health, visit http://health.utah.gov/primarycare/ or contact Owen Quinonez, Community Health Specialist, at email@example.com or by phone at 801-273-6620.
Community Health Specialist