(Salt Lake City, UT) – Utah’s rural communities are great places to live and work, but in some cases, residents have a hard time getting to the doctors and clinics they need for health care. Some must drive more than an hour to find a physican or clinic. But according to Dr. Don Wood, the care they get when they arrive is as good as that in the big cities. “Rural medical providers offer exceptional care which is equal to care that can be found in larger metropolitan areas,” says Wood.
Approximately 62 million people―one in five Americans―live in rural areas, and on Thursday, November 21, state and national leaders will spotlight the importance of rural health by observing National Rural Health Day. In Utah, Governor Gary Herbert will name November 17-23 as Rural Health Week in Utah. The designation is meant to reinforce a broad-based, deep-seated commitment from all sectors to improve access, and the quality of health care for rural Utahns.
As part of Rural Health Week, the Utah Office of Primary Care and Rural Health (OPCRH) is holding a photo contest. Entries should share visually what “rural” means to you. Submissions will be judged on creativity, originality, photo quality, and the picture’s overall appeal. Photos must be original and taken during 2013. Prizes will be given for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. Entries may be e-mailed to Owen Quiñonez at firstname.lastname@example.org by November 19, 2013. Winners will be notified by December 2, 2013 and winning photos will be posted on the OPCHR website at http://health.utah.gov/primarycare.
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, mental health and dental services. This funding enables rural health care providers to serve Utahns in small communities, which comprise 95% of the state’s land mass. Additionally, OPCRH provides more than $150,000 in Small Hospitals Improvement Program (SHIP) 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 the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (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/.
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Community Health Specialist