Radically Rural

Many low-population regions experience problems developing or sustaining quality health care, particularly during a pandemic. Radically Rural’s health care sessions, presented Sept. 22-23, offer possible solutions, say its organizers.

“The health of a rural community is everyone’s business, from the school principal to the economic developer to the church leader and the librarian,” says Allen Smart, who works in health care fundraising for small communities. “Rural communities that understand this whole community approach to having healthier people are in a much better position to attract new businesses and residents, keep young families in town, lower costs for employers, help the elderly age gracefully in place and create high quality jobs.”

Smart, in emphasizing this holistic approach to health care, added, “And by health care ecosystem we mean not just health care services but all the factors that support good health — food, recreation, education and transportation, just to name a few.”

Topics for the Radically Rural Healthcare Track include keeping health care strong in small towns, using telehealth and technology, and the ways and means to attract and retain health care practitioners. This session is scheduled for 10:30 a.m., Sept. 22, in Cohen Hall at Keene Public Library and features several experts, including Jeanne Ryer, director, N.H. Citizens Health Initiative; Deborah Cross, family nurse practitioner, White Mountain Community Health Center; Julia Johnston, behavioral health coordinator, Tri-County Health Network; Robin Nelson, director of nursing, Maplewood; Lisa Bean, nurse and clinical reimbursement coordinator, Alpine Healthcare Center; and Sanjeev Arora, founder and director, Project ECHO.

At 2:15 p.m., a session entitled “Where do we Turn” presents a panel discussion on how rural communities can take advantage of state, regional and local partnerships to boost the quality of health care. Resources and networks will be suggested that can lead local leaders to make communities healthier. Speaking will be Kristine Sande, program director, Rural Health Information Hub; Teryl Eisinger, CEO, National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health; and Alisa Druzba, director, New Hampshire Rural Health and Primary Care Office.

Finally, on Sept. 23, at 10 a.m., a panel takes up the challenge of funding excellent health care and how small communities can have success in this arena. Speaking are Eisinger, Sandee and Smart, who’s an advocate for PhilanthropywoRx, which is based in North Carolina.

For more information and to purchase tickets to attend Radically Rural — in person or online — go to www.radicallyrural.org.