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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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American Heart Month: Wear Red Day

February is recognized as American Heart Month, a dedicated period to raise awareness about heart health and encourage individuals to adopt heart-healthy lifestyles. Cardiovascular diseases remain a leading cause of death globally, and American Heart Month serves as an important opportunity to educate the public about the risk factors associated with heart disease and the preventive measures that can be taken. During this month, various organizations, healthcare professionals, and communities come together to promote heart health through events, campaigns, and educational initiatives.

One notable event within American Heart Month is "Wear Red Day," celebrated on the first Friday of February. This day is specifically aimed at raising awareness about heart disease in women. Heart disease is often mistakenly considered a predominantly male issue, but it affects women at alarming rates. Wear Red Day encourages people to wear red clothing to show their support for heart health and to spark conversations about the importance of preventing heart disease in both men and women. The American Heart Association (AHA) is a key supporter of Wear Red Day, providing resources and information to help individuals understand the risks and take steps towards a heart-healthy lifestyle.

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National Cancer Prevention Month

National Cancer Prevention Month, observed every February, is a crucial awareness initiative that underscores the significance of proactive measures in reducing the risk of cancer. This month serves as a platform to educate individuals about lifestyle choices, early detection, and regular screenings that can contribute to preventing various types of cancer. By promoting healthy behaviors such as maintaining a balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity, avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption, individuals can significantly lower their risk of developing cancer.

Maintaining one's health is paramount in the fight against cancer. Adopting a nutritious diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains provides essential vitamins and antioxidants that bolster the body's immune system and help combat the development of cancerous cells. Regular physical activity not only aids in weight management but also contributes to overall well-being, reducing the risk of certain cancers. Additionally, steering clear of tobacco products and moderating alcohol intake are crucial steps in cancer prevention, as these substances are known to be major contributors to various types of cancer.

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Statement on Jellico Regional Hospital

Rural Health Association of Tennessee (RHA) is closely monitoring the situation between Boa Vida Healthcare, Progressive Health, and the City of Jellico concerning the ownership and future of Jellico Community Hospital.

Over the past several months, RHA received numerous requests and statements of concern about Jellico Community Hospital. RHA’s Chief Executive Officer, Jacy Warrell, visited the community, met with local advocates, and has provided several resources aimed to help community leaders gather information and explore various delivery of care options, as well as funding sources that may benefit the community.

Rural Health Association of Tennessee is in full support of the decision made by Jellico City Council. Since Jellico Community Hospital closed and reopened, there are several new federal programs that may work to the community’s advantage, such as the Rural Emergency Hospital (REH) program. Alternatively, or perhaps additionally, the community could establish a 501c3 nonprofit Rural Health Clinic and/or Behavioral Health services that could bring more resources to Jellico. Currently proposals presented to the City of Jellico include a pain management clinic and orthopedics unit.

We will continue to work with the community and interested parties in developing solutions that meet the needs of the community.

National Maternal Health Day: Maternal Health in Rural Areas

Maternal health is a critical aspect of overall well-being, and its significance is particularly pronounced in rural communities. In these areas, access to quality healthcare resources is often limited, posing unique challenges for pregnant women and new mothers. The lack of easily accessible healthcare facilities, skilled professionals, and educational programs can lead to delayed or inadequate prenatal care, increasing the risk of complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Addressing maternal health in rural communities is essential for ensuring the health and survival of both mothers and their newborns.

One of the primary reasons maternal health is crucial in rural areas is the vulnerability of pregnant women to complications. Limited access to prenatal care can result in undetected health issues, contributing to a higher incidence of maternal mortality and morbidity. Moreover, the physical distance to healthcare facilities may hinder timely emergency interventions, making it imperative to prioritize maternal health initiatives that bring services closer to rural communities. By improving access to prenatal care and skilled birth attendants, the likelihood of preventing and managing complications increases, positively impacting maternal and infant outcomes.

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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.

National Drug Take Back Day

October 28th is recognized as National Drug Take Back Day.

National Drug Take Back Day is a public health initiative provides an opportunity for individuals to dispose of their unused or expired prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs safely. This annual event, organized by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and local law enforcement agencies, aims to combat the growing issue of prescription drug abuse and its associated health risks. By participating in National Drug Take Back Day, people can ensure that these medications do not end up in the wrong hands, in turn reducing the potential for misuse, addiction, and overdose.

One of the main benefits of National Drug Take Back Day is the environmentally responsible disposal of pharmaceuticals. Flushing medications down the toilet or throwing them in the trash can lead to contamination of water sources and soil. By providing designated collection sites where individuals can drop off their medications, the initiative prevents these substances from polluting the environment. This environmentally friendly approach not only safeguards ecosystems but also protects human health by reducing exposure to harmful chemicals.

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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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September is National Recovery Month

National Recovery Month aims to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with a mental and/or substance use disorder to live a healthy and rewarding life.

To start off National Recovery Month, we're sharing a few resources and will add to these as the month progresses. 

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RHA is a Proud Sponsor of the 4th Annual Maury County Recovery Fest!

September 23, 2023
We are a proud sponsor of the 4th Annual Maury County Recovery Fest!

TennCare redetermination started in April. Our Health Enrollment team will be available to assist with TennCare redetermination, enrollment, and finding low-cost and affordable healthcare options at the Maury County Recovery Fest! Translation services are also available at no cost! Can’t attend the event? Call 866-675-7092 or click here to schedule an appointment with a trained assister.

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August 28 - September 1 is National CHW Awareness Week (NCHAW)

National Community Health Worker (CHW) Awareness Week is August 28 - September 1 and is the first ever national campaign with CHWs at the center!

The National Association of Community Health Workers has developed this event to increase awareness of CHW identity, roles, impact on communities, and leadership – and to promote policies that respect, protect and authentically partner with the CHW profession.

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International Overdose Awareness Day is August 31

Time to Remember. Time to Act. Overdose touches people and communities in many ways. On August 31, International Overdose Awareness Day, let's support the people in our communities who go unrecognized by raising awareness of the hidden impacts of overdose, promoting education of overdose response, and reaching out to politicians to make lasting, lifesaving policy changes.

The 2023 theme, “Recognizing those people who go unseen,” is about acknowledging people in our communities who are affected by overdose but might go unseen in the crisis. 

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29th Annual Conference Agenda Now Available!

Conference Overview

Join us this fall as we welcome a variety of professionals in their field from across Tennessee to present on topics effecting rural Tennessee. Find the agenda for this event here

Registration

Registration for RHA of TN's 29th Annual Conference is now open! 

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August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month

National Breastfeeding Month is celebrated annually in August and is dedicated to raising awareness of the importance and benefits of breastfeeding for both infants and parents. The observance also aims to raise awareness of racial disparities in breastfeeding numbers and work towards reducing them by providing culturally sensitive support, education, and resources to communities facing more significant breastfeeding challenges. 

Breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure a child's health and survival. Although more than 80 percent of mothers in the U.S. start off breastfeeding, less than a quarter exclusively breastfeed their baby at 6 months. According to the CDC, fewer non-Hispanic Black infants (74.1 percent) are ever breastfed compared with Asian infants (90.8 percent), non-Hispanic white infants (85.3 percent), and Hispanic infants (83.0 percent).

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NIMHD Leaders Author New Commentary on Health Disparities and Health Equity

In order to achieve health equity, access barriers need to be removed and high quality, need-based resources allocated. Health equity promotion is the aspirational guarantee of optimal health for all.

In this article, five actionable strategies for promoting health equity are summarized by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. Often, meaningful equity work requires major shifts in approaches, dedicated resources, and targeted efforts toward social justice.

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Rural Health Care Task Force Releases Policy Recommendations

Tennessee's Rural Health Care Task Force, formed in June 2022 by Governor Bill Lee, has released a number of recommendations aimed at improving access to care and health outcomes for rural Tennesseans. In the report are recommendations to increase access to care, train healthcare professionals, and address social drivers of health.

Rural Health Association of Tennessee's CEO, Jacy Warrell, served as the Social Drivers of Health Subcommittee Chair, making recommendations to support grant programs that will allow rural communities to develop and implement their own innovative solutions to addressing social drivers locally. RHA's workforce program also received a nod and is included as a recommendation to address building healthcare career pathways for entry-level healthcare professionals.

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Rural Health Clinic Network Kick-Off Event

We're excited to launch the Rural Health Clinic Network, a member group for independent and provider-based clinics in Tennessee.

We held a Kick-Off Event in June to learn more about the clinics' strengths, challenges, and needs. We look forward to supporting the clinics through the Network, offering resources to help them succeed. We hope to foster a community of collaboration and support within the Network.

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Join Us for a Virtual Training Webinar on Naloxone

Join us for a virtual training webinar on Naloxone on June 27th from 11 am - 12 pm CDT! Topics to be covered include the causes and impacts of the overdose epidemic, the impact of substance misuse on the brain, harm reduction principles, recognizing and responding to an overdose, and how to administer Naloxone. 

Presenter:
Marissa Valentine
Sevier County Regional Overdose Prevention Specialist (ROPS)
Sevier County Office of Alcohol and Drug Programs
Sevier County C.A.R.E.S.

Register

We Can't Wait to See You at the 29th Annual Conference, November 15 - 17, 2023

We invite you to be a part of the conversation around rural health care by registering for our 29th Annual Conference, "Shining a Light on Rural Health, Advocating for a Brighter Future!" Enjoy networking with like-minded professionals, learning from industry experts, attending engaging sessions, and being part of shaping the future of rural health care in Tennessee. 

To register, and for more information about hotel accommodations and sponsorship opportunities, click here.

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In-Person TennCare Assistance Every Friday in May and June

Rural Health Association is ready to assist patients in keeping their TennCare Coverage! Trained assisters will be at Saint Louise Clinic in Murfreesboro each Friday in May and June from 9am - 1pm CT to help individuals determine if they are still eligible for TennCare and provide other helpful information. Can’t attend the event? Call 866-675-7092 or click here to schedule an appointment with a trained assister.

The address for Saint Louise Clinic is 1020 N Highland Ave A, Murfreesboro, TN 37130.