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A reason to care: How students choose rural health

For three rural medical and public health students who recently spoke with NRHA about their career choice, finding their “reason to care” was a huge deciding factor in pursuing smalltown practice – but they also believe exposure can help more students become interested in rural medicine, and rural living has a lot to offer the younger generation.

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Focus on Fellows: Checking in with three rural leaders

Over the years, NRHA has developed a network of diverse rural leaders who have stepped forward to serve in key positions in affiliated advocacy groups, as well as local and state legislative bodies with health equity as a main focus. We recently sat down with NRHA Rural Health Fellows graduates Vicki Brooks, Joni Nelson, and Thad Shunkwiler to discuss how the program benefited them and why others should consider applying.

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A prescription for better rural nutrition

When Arkansas Rural Health Partnership members started screening more for social determinants of health as part of their chronic disease management program, food insecurity emerged as a top concern. In recent years, rural barriers to healthy food access have come into sharper focus. In 2022, a Purdue University study indicated up to 23 percent of rural households were food insecure, and recent data show 1 in 5 residents in the ARHP service area live in poverty. To help rural seniors...

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Faces of Rural: Redefining who we are

Across the country, health care providers are helping shift the rural narrative, eagerly noting that their communities are diverse, innovative, welcoming, and resilient – often different than what urban and suburban dwellers expect. NRHA will continue to highlight these empowering voices in our ongoing Faces of Rural Campaign.

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New NRHA initiative focuses on age-friendly care

No matter where a person lives, getting older requires support – but rural adults face unique concerns not shared by their urban peers. In addition to economic factors, cultural and social differences, policies that don’t adequately acknowledge or serve rural, and geographic distance, older small-town residents must also grapple with traveling farther for care, fewer community spaces and activities, social isolation, hospital closures, and health care provider shortages. These...

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Making an impact: Bridging the gap in rural pediatric dentistry

According to an American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry technical brief, two-thirds of the nation’s federally designated dental health professional shortage areas are in rural America. As a result, children in rural areas are more likely to have poor oral health compared to their urban peers. To address the need for pediatric dental care in rural communities, stakeholders are working together to overcome barriers and find sustainable solutions.

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Hard to reach? Karriem Watson dispels rural health research myths

During his 20-year career in public health education and research, Karriem Watson, DHSc, has seen firsthand the power of community engagement. As chief engagement officer at the National Institute of Health’s All of Us Research Program, Watson has drawn on his personal and professional experiences to inform his approach to encourage underrepresented populations to participate in health research. All of Us is a national initiative aimed at engaging more than one million people from...

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Reimagining rural with NRHA President Leslie Marsh

More than three decades ago, NRHA President Leslie Marsh came to rural Nebraska and fell in love with small town life. Since then, she’s become a vocal rural health advocate and leader, having served in leadership roles at Lexington (Neb.) Regional Health Center for more than 25 years and as the facility’s current CEO. She recently told NRHA more about her passion for health policy, her early experiences with NRHA, and why rethinking rural health care is on her 2023 presidential...

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The power of rural health research

Over the last decade, the national perception of rural America has started to change. Gone is the antiquated idea that all rural people are white, poorer, and less educated than their urban and suburban counterparts, with small towns being more accurately portrayed as innovative, diverse, and rich in culture and community. That shift in mentality has been bolstered by a corresponding increase in rural health research, which has helped people across the country gain a clearer and more...

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NRHA donor profile: Meet Keith Mueller

In more than three decades as a rural health researcher, NRHA member Keith Mueller has become one of the nation’s foremost rural health policy experts. He has also been a steadfast supporter of NRHA, having generously donated to support the mission and rural leadership training programs of NRHA’s Rural Health Foundation. Mueller recently sat down with NRHA to tell us more about his career, why he is passionate about rural health research, and why he feels it’s vital to...

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