National Rural Health Day is Nov. 17; Kentucky Rural Health Association’s annual conference is Nov. 16 and 17

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

Thursday, Nov. 17 is 12th annual National Rural Health Day, a day set aside to bring an increased awareness of rural-health related issues.

“National Rural Health Day is an opportunity to celebrate the “power of rural.” We use this day to highlight the unique health care challenges that rural people face. Then, we show how our programs and policies, and the efforts of our partners and stakeholders, help address and reduce health care disparities in rural communities,” the Health Resources & Services Administration says on its website.

The event is sponsored by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health, which will host a special web event on Nov. 17 at 2 p.m. EST titled “Collaboration Carpool: Conversations with Mission-Minded Rural Stakeholders. “The event will include representatives from the United States Department of Agriculture, broadband, philanthropy, public health, and rural health clinics and community centers. Go to for more information and to register.

HRSA says its theme is “Advancing Behavioral Health Equity in Rural Communities” and will be hosting four webinars to bring attention to this issue. Click here for more details. Here are a list of dates and topics:

  • Monday, Nov. 14: Mindfulness Based Stress Mitigation in the Workplace (Registration required)
  • Tuesday, Nov. 15:  Hidden in Plain Sight: Understanding the Impact of Intimate Partner Violence and Human Trafficking in Rural communities
  • Wednesday, Nov. 16: Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Grantee Stories about how they have advanced behavioral equity in their communities
  • Thursday, Nov. 17: Health and Human Services Leadership Panel, discussing HHS programs and initiatives that advance rural behavioral health equity.

In Kentucky, 1.8 million people, or 40.6% of the population, live in rural areas, according to the Rural Health Information Hub. It shows, using HRSA data, that every county in Kentucky is considered a Health Professional Shortage Area for mental health.

That said, all Kentuckians who are experiencing a mental-health crisis can call the state’s new, confidential 988 suicide and crisis hotline. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Kentuckians who call 988 will be routed to the closest regional call center according to their area code and the phone exchange. In addition, callers are asked if they are a farmer or a member of a farming family as part of a data gathering effort to better understand the increasing mental health crisis of farmers.

A spokesperson from The Kentucky Rural Health Association said they have been highlighting rural healthcare providers through its social media as a way to celebrate National Rural Health Day. The association will also be hosting its annual conference in Somerset on Nov. 16 and Nov. 17. Click here to register and to see the full agenda.

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