Friday, November 9, 2012

Improving Health Care Access in Rural Utah

(Salt Lake City, UT) – For many Utahns, getting medical care means much more than just hopping in the car and driving 15 minutes to the nearest health facility.  Many residents who live in rural areas must drive an hour or more to get care. 

Utah isn’t the only state with residents facing that dilemma.  For that reason, on November 15, 2012, state and national leaders will spotlight the importance of rural health by observing National Rural Health Day.  In Utah, Governor Gary Herbert has named November 11-17 as Utah Rural Health Week.  The designation is meant to reinforce the commitment from all sectors to improve access to and quality of health service in rural communities.

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, only four are urban, while 12 are rural and 13 are frontier.

As part of Rural Health Week, the Utah Office of Primary Care and Rural Health is holding a photo contest.  Entries should “communicate the concept of rural,” and will be judged on creativity, originality, photo quality, and the picture’s overall appeal.  Submissions must be original and taken during 2012.  Prizes will be given for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.  Winners will be selected on Friday, November 16, 2012.  Entries may be e-mailed to Owen Quinonez at

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 help residents access primary care and mental health and dental services. 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 To learn more about NOSORH, visit And for more information about the Utah Office of Primary Care and Rural Health, visit or contact Owen Quinonez, Community Health Specialist, at  or by phone at 801-273-6620.

Media Contact:
Owen Quinonez 
Program Manager
(801) 273-6620