The Kentucky Office of Rural Health (KORH) and the University of Kentucky Center of Excellence in Rural Health (UK CERH) joined the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) and other state/national rural stakeholders to celebrate National Rural Health Day.
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. Plans call for National Rural Health Day to become an annual celebration on the third Thursday of each November.
“We are honored that Gov. Beshear has chosen to proclaim a special rural health day just for Kentucky that aligns with this important national initiative. This is an opportunity for us to recognize and appreciate those who demonstrate their passion for helping neighbors, friends and fellow community members by providing essential healthcare services to our small towns and rural counties,” said UK CERH Director Fran Feltner.
The KORH hosted The Rural Collaborative: Kentucky’s First Rural Health Network Showcase, Funding Workshop, and Idea Exchange. The one-day event highlighted the work that has been accomplished across the Commonwealth as it relates to the HRSA Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) Community Based Division grants. Attendees also received assistance in preparing to submit competitive applications for upcoming opportunities.
“It is encouraging to witness the impact these investments have made across our rural communities”, said Ernie Scott, KORH Director.
Approximately 62 million people – nearly one in five Americans – live in rural and frontier communities throughout the United States. In Kentucky, that percentage is even greater, with just over 40 percent of residents living in rural communities. Healthcare for these communities comes in many forms. Kentucky has 68 rural hospitals located throughout the state, including 28 Critical Access Hospitals. There are also 187 Rural Health Clinics and 15 rural Community Health Center grantees with multiple locations throughout the state.
“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,” notes 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.”