Imagine driving an hour for a colonoscopy. Because of limited access to health care, that’s the harsh reality for many people living in rural communities, said Leslie Griffin, M.D., program director of family medicine residency at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine Chattanooga, during the “How to build a rural health pipeline” panel at AHCJ’s Rural Health Workshop 2022 in Chattanooga, Tenn.
During the talk, moderated by AHCJ core topic leader on mental health Katti Gray, Griffin explained to journalists how she’s using her platform to encourage more medical students and physicians to train and practice in rural communities.
Other featured panelists included Ashoke “Bappa” Mukherji, chief executive officer of the Java Medical Group — which has been buying and reopening rural hospitals — and Lisa Beasley, D.N.P., A. P.R.N., N.P.-C., R.N., a nurse practitioner, assistant professor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and president of the Tennessee Nurses Association.
During the panel, speakers emphasized the dire need to address the physician and nurse practitioner shortage in rural America, discussed barriers to recruitment in these areas, offered solutions to providing more health care access to rural communities and presented story ideas for journalists to explore.