Tag Archives: ruralhealth

Closing health care gaps in rural America

Katti Gray, AHCJ’s core topic leader on mental health, moderates “Building the rural health care pipeline” panel at Rural Health Journalism Workshop 2022. Panelists Leslie Griffin, M.D., program director of family medicine residency at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine Chattanooga and Lisa D. Beasley, D.N.P., A.P.R.N., N.P.-C., R.N., assistant professor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and president of the Tennessee Nurses Association, are sitting to the right of the podium.

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.

Continue reading

4 ways to ramp up your reporting on rural hospitals

From left to right: Sarah Jane Tribble, senior correspondent with Kaiser Health News and featured luncheon speaker Stephanie Boynton, F.A.C.H.E., vice president and chief executive officer of critical access hospitals for Erlanger Bledsoe Hospital and Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital.

When reporting on the state of rural medical facilities, there’s more to the story than the demand for health care services. Other factors influence the survival, closure, or changes to services offered by providers in more sparsely populated areas. The economic prosperity of those regions, for instance, appears to be tightly intertwined with the type and quality of care accessible to the people who live there — who tend to be in worse health than their urban peers.

That was among the potential story threads that emerged during a presentation at AHCJ’s Rural Health Journalism Workshop 2022 in Chattanooga earlier this month. Stephanie Boynton, F.A.C.H.E.,  featured luncheon speaker and vice president and CEO of critical access hospitals for Erlanger Bledsoe Hospital and Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital, talked about the impact of Erlanger Health System’s acquisition of facilities in East Tennessee and Western North Carolina.

Continue reading

Rural health stories everywhere, workshop participants say

Attendees listen attentively during the “Hiding in plain sight: Finding data and research about rural health” panel. (Photo courtesy of Margarita Martín-Hidalgo Birnbaum)

Finding and parsing rural health data, tracking COVID-19’s curve in rural regions, the promise and limitations of telemedicine for rural health consumers, and reopening rural hospitals were among the topics tackled at AHCJ’s Rural Health Workshop 2022. (Check out full panel recordings on the Rural Health Workshop 2022 landing page.)

During the first in-person Rural Health Workshop since 2019 in Denver, expert panelists also cited ongoing gaps in care for rural patients and shared innovations for filling some of those voids.

The one-day workshop was hosted by the University of Tennessee School of Medicine Chattanooga; the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Nursing; Cempa Community Care and Erlanger Health System. Sponsors were The Commonwealth Fund; the Helmsley Charitable Trust; and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Stories about health in far-flung, medically underserved places are fodder for journalists and essential to improving rural health care, said Rob Headrick, M.D., CHI Memorial Rees Skillern Cancer Institute’s chief of thoracic surgery.

“The challenge for us is how to combine your skills and mine … ” Headrick said during the panel “Bringing health care to the people: mobile screening and other routes to prevention.”

Continue reading