|[November 16, 2012]
VA Joins National and Local Organizations to Celebrate National Rural Health Day
WASHINGTON --(Business Wire)--
Yesterday, the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Rural Health
(ORH) joined the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health
(NOSORH) and other state/national rural stakeholders in celebrating the
second annual National Rural Health Day.
"National Rural Health Day events help bring attention to rural America,
putting the spotlight on the many positive aspects of rural life as well
as the health care needs of those living in rural communities," said
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "With such a large
percentage of enrolled Veterans residing in rural and highly rural
areas, we celebrate the great strides VA has made to improve access to
care and focus on this significant population."
NOSORH created National Rural Health Day to showcase rural America and
increase awareness of rural health-related issues.
"National Rural Health Day gives NOSORH and its partners the opportunity
to 'Celebrate the Power of Rural' and showcase the good works of
America's 59.5 million rural citizens," said NOSORH Director Teryl
Eisinger. "It also allows us to highlight the unique health care issues
being faced by rural citizens and promote the efforts of NOSORH, State
Offices of Rural Health (SORHs) and their partners in addressing those
ORH was pleased to join in "Celebrting the Power of Rural" and to raise
awareness about ORH's mission to improve access and quality of care for
the 6.1 million Veterans living in rural areas. Currently, 3.4 million
rural Veterans are enrolled in the VA system, which represents 41% of
the total enrolled Veteran population and 31.9% of those enrollees who
served in recent conflicts. Men and women from geographically rural and
highly rural areas make up a disproportionate share of Servicemembers.
Many of these Servicemembers and Veterans are returning to their rural
Through collaborations with VA program offices, other federal and state
partners, and rural health communities, ORH has supported over 1,000
projects and implemented innovative programs that use state-of-the-art
technology and evidence-based policies to support the unique needs of
"ORH is committed to engaging in studies and analyses that identify best
practices, and translating those best practices into policy and
measurable impacts for rural Veterans," said Byron Bair, M.D., acting
ORH director. "We look forward to broadening our focus on rural women
Veterans, finding and implementing innovative solutions to reduce health
disparities, and continuing to close the access gap with telehealth and
other cutting-edge technologies."
Events recognizing National Rural Health Day and "Celebrating the Power
of Rural" were held throughout the nation. Buck Richardson (News - Alert), CHEM and Jay
Shore, M.D., MPH, joined Eisinger for a National Rural Health Day
Webinar titled "Cultural Awareness to Help While Serving Native
Veterans." Richardson and Shore are both actively involved in the ORH
Veterans Rural Health Resource Center - Western Regions "Native Domain"
and working with American Indian/Alaskan Native Veterans.
Additional information on Rural Health Day can be found at www.celebratepowerofrural.org.
For additional information about the VHA Office of Rural Health (ORH),
please contact Nancy Maher at (202) 461-1774, Nancy.Maher@va.gov,
or visit the ORH website at www.ruralhealth.va.gov.
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