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Men's Health Grant Report

In 2021, Rural Health Association of Tennessee (RHA) received a contact from Tennessee Department of Health (TDH), Office of Minority Health, via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HRSA).

The service goal of this contract was to improve the health of people in rural Tennessee by providing activities for COVID-19 advocacy, communication, and health education. As part of the strategy to provide accurate education regarding COVID-19, vaccinations, and overall population health improvement, RHA contracted with the Men’s Health Network of Tennessee (MHN) to develop and disseminate a Certified Men’s Health Educator training.

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Advocacy Win for Rural Health

Governor Lee’s proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 – 2025 budget included proposed funding for most of the Rural Health Task Force's recommendations. 

We are happy to share that the appropriations bill passed by Tennessee's 113th General Assembly. The table below outlines the approved rural health care initiatives, funding for FY 2024 – 2025. 

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Department of Health Releases 2024-2026 Health Plan

The 2024-2026 State Health Plan seeks to provide a pathway for achieving the Department’s vision: Healthy People, Healthy Communities, Healthy Tennessee.

Through evaluating data and engaging partners and the public to create recommendations across the four sections of the State Health Plan Framework (1. A Healthy Start; 2. A Healthy Life; 3. A Healthy Environment; 4. A Healthy System of Care), the Plan outlines how Tennesseans can work together to improve the health status of Tennesseans.

Download the Health Plan

Supporting Rural Health Workforce

Community Training, Education, and Access for Medical Students (Community TEAMS) Act - H.R. 7258

Research shows that medical students receiving education and training in rural and underserved communities are more likely to stay and practice in those areas. The Community TEAMS Act will increase medical school clinical rotations in rural and underserved areas, strengthening the physician workforce pipeline and leading to greater healthcare access in these communities.

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Wilma Jean Pippenger Receives Bill Moats Meritorious Service Award

The below is from the Cleveland Daily Banner, December 30, 2023

Big South Fork Medical opens Myrtle Recover Center in Oneida, Tennessee

RHA Staff Deliver Prescription-drug Take-back boxes 

In August, Big South Fork Medical Center, announced the opening of Myrtle Recovery Centers, its alcohol and drug treatment facility at the Oneida .

October 31st, Jessica Rackley, RHA's Rural Community Opioid Response Program (TN-RCORP) Director, and Jacy Warrell, RHA's CEO traveled to Oneida to deliver two prescription drug take-back boxes to be placed at the hospital.

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2023 Membership Voting

The 2023 Membership Voting is open 

Members may login to RHA's Website for details, including:

  • 2024 Board Officers
  • 2024 Board Members (Each candidate's application is available to view on the Member Landing page)
  • Bylaw Changes (summary of proposed changes is on the Member Landing page)
  • 2024 Proposed Advocacy Priorities 

Voting will remain open through November 16th (Rural Health Day) and results will be shared at our Annual Member Meeting on Friday November 17th (end of Annual Conference).

The voting link will also be available in RHA's Conference App.

RHA Launches "Be There" Campaign

Be There 

Reducing Stigma and Encouraging Recovery

The Tennessee Rural Community Opioid Response Program (TN-RCORP) Consortium, a program of Rural Health Association of Tennessee (RHA), is announcing their new "Be There" initiative.

With the goal of reducing stigma and encouraging support, the campaign aims to bring awareness to the benefits of being there for those battling behavioral health issues including substance use disorder (SUD) and opioid use disorder (OUD).

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New Partner Announcement

Rural Health Association of Tennessee (RHA) is proud to announce it has been awarded a sub-contract from Findhelp as part of TennCare's Health Starts Initiative.

Findhelp is a technology company that connects individuals needing social care services with community providers in an efficient and easy-to-navigate Closed-Loop Referral System (CLRS), while protecting privacy. They will provide the technology that allows TennCare to assess non-medical risk factors of individuals in need through a unified approach and refer them to community-based organizations that can meet their needs, while tracking outcomes.

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RHA Hires Rural Health Clinic Network Director

Welcome Christin McWhorter, RHC Network Director

Christin will be working with the Rural Health Clinic (RHC) Advisory Committee and Network Members by facilitating professional development opportunities, technical assistance, and advocacy opportunities for rural providers and administrators.

Christin has more than 17 years of experience working with and advocating for vulnerable communities. Prior to joining RHA, Christin served as the Community Outreach Manager for the Southeast Tennessee Area Agency on Aging and Disability where she oversaw the agency’s community service programs including the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).

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25 Food, Housing, Health, Youth, and Job Resource Agencies for East Tennessee Families

Food Resources

Compassion Coalition: This program will share the availability and hours of food pantries in the area. You can contact Compassion Coalition at 865-251-1591. 

Love Kitchen: This program serves in-house lunch on Wednesdays and Thursdays. You can connect with Love Kitchen by calling them at 865-546-3248.

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Tennessee Vaccines for Children Program (VFC)

Tennessee public school students are required to turn in the state department of health immunization certificate before returning to the classroom. The list of required vaccinations are here. VFC helps families of children who may not otherwise have access to vaccines by providing free vaccines to doctors who serve them. 

Who Is Eligible for the VFC Program?

Children ages 18 years or younger who meet at least one of the following requirements:

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Certified Rural Health Professional Training - Scholarships Available, a $600 Value

What is the Certified Rural Health Clinic Professional Course (CRHCP) ?
RHCs have unique rules and regulations that require specialized knowledge and expertise. The course is designed specifically for Directors, Clinic Administrators, and other RHC leaders and covers all aspects of operating a successful RHC, including federal and state regulations, billing and coding, financial management, human resources, and more. Industry experts will provide you with the tools and resources needed to effectively manage your clinic, ensuring that it thrives and grows. 

Scholarships:
We are excited to offer a limited number of scholarships valued at $600 for those interested in completing the course! Applications must be received by August 31st, 2023. Click here to download and fill out the application. Please return it to Christin McWhorter, [email protected].

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Symposium on Prevention and Recovery

Please join TN-RCORP members, Power of Putnam and Tennessee Tech’s Counseling Honor Society Tau Tau, for a collaborative symposium to discuss new developments and best practices in substance use prevention and recovery. In person and virtual options are available.

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Rural Health Workforce Ready

Rural Health Association of Tennessee (RHA) released a Rural Health Workforce Ready report featuring successes  from their pilot workforce development program aimed at addressing the state’s workforce shortages.

The program launched in West Tennessee with funding from Delta Regional Authority and Amerigroup before expanding to other parts of the state. Over the past two years, RHA has assisted more than 300 aspiring healthcare professionals seeking certification and employment. To support career pathway development, RHA partnered with K-12 schools and community colleges to train more than 700 students in goal setting, healthcare careers, and communication skills.

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Dr. Brenda Jones Testifies on importance of Doulas

Rural Health Association of Tennessee’s (RHA) Board Secretary, Dr. Brenda Jones, testified February 28th in from of  the Tennessee Senate’s Commerce and Labor Committee in support of Senate Bill 394/HB 738 that would establish a recognized Doula certification.

Dr. Jones is an assistant professor at Lee University, a CNM, FNP, Public Health Professional, residing in Bradley County, TN. Throughout her career as a Certified Nurse Midwife, she has attended over 2,500 deliveries. Dr. Jones’ full testimony can be viewed below along with a handout highlighting maternal health in Tennessee.

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Maternal Health Policy Brief

Tennessee has among the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the nation. RHA advocates for programs and

policies that prevent teenage pregnancy, provides case management services to pregnant women, and advances professional knowledge of providers.

RHA has published a Maternal Health in Tennessee policy brief modeled after the National Rural Health Association's 2021 Rural Obstetric Unit Closures and Maternal and Infant Health.

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National Rural Health Policy Institute

RHA members and staff traveled to Washington D.C. for the National Rural Health Association's Policy Institute February 7th - 9th 2023. While there, RHA met with several members of Tennessee's congressional delegation to talk Rural Hospitals, Rural Health Clinic Modernization, and Maternal Health.

A special thanks to the following offices for meeting with us:

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2022 Annual Report

RHA is delighted to share a summary of our member events and  programs for 2022. Thank you to our members, staff, funders, and many community partners for your support the past year!

Click here to view the online report
Click here to download a PDF of the report

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TN-RHC Network Planning Activities

Tennessee Rural Health Clinic (TN-RHC) Network Updates

July 1, 2022, Rural Health Association of Tennessee (RHA) received a HRSA Planning Grant (P10RH45771‐01‐01)  to build capacity to support the state's more than 200 Rural Health Clinics (RHCs). With an Advisory Committee of independent and provider-based RHCs and others the group conducted site visits, surveys, and focus groups to explore how RHA can support integrating RHCs into the larger healthcare system. Here's what we've been up to! Activities have been made possible thanks to the generous support of National Rural Health Association, Center's for Disease Control (CDC), and Health and Human Resources Services Agency (HRSA).

September 20th-22nd, RHA sent TN-RHC Advisory Member Candance Garrett with Ascension/Saint Thomas to National Rural Health  Association's RHC conference in Kansas City, MO for the latest in RHC policy and updates. Also pictured, Alicia Calloway, RHA's Chief Operating Officer, Andrew Burnett, THA's VP Rural Hospitals, and Jacy Warrell, RHA's CEO.

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