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Rural Health Journalism Workshop: Schedule

The workshop will be at the Holiday Inn at the Plaza in Kansas City, Mo.,

and includes free breakfast, lunch and reception

8-9 a.m.


9-10 a.m.

Getting the lay of the land:
What journalists need to know about rural residents and rural health issues

"Once you have seen one rural community," quotes an expert, "you have, indeed, seen only one rural community!" Each American rural community has its own identity and makeup. They can consist of farms, factories, retirement areas or "exurbs" for commuters - each with its own distinctive personality. There is, however, some common ground: Rural Americans face special challenges in getting health care, and in many areas those challenges keep them from being as healthy as their urban and suburban cousins. A rural sociologist can lay out the differences and commonalities among rural communities, and a health research director can apply those characteristics - and the accompanying health needs - to complete the picture.

* Jane Nelson Bolin, R.N., J.D., Ph.D., associate professor, director, Southwest Rural Health Research Center, Texas A&M Health Science Center
* Rex R. Campbell, Ph.D., professor, Department of Rural Sociology, University of Missouri
* Moderator: Len Bruzzese, executive director, Association of Health Care Journalists

10:15-11:15 a.m.

Children and seniors: Vulnerable populations in rural America
The two ends of a life's spectrum - childhood and old age - pose special challenges in rural areas. Panelists will outline the pressing needs of these groups and talk through
some ways to identify stories. Some of the issues face both groups: distance from health providers and facilities, transportation, and obesity, among others. Government
programs - Medicare for the seniors and Medicaid for many children - are ripe with story potential as state and federal legislators face changes in these heavily used programs. Add inadequate housing for the elderly and children exposed to substance abuse and you'll start seeing more stories in your own community.

* Christopher M. Kelly, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Gerontology, University of Nebraska at Omaha
* Amy Brock-Martin, Dr.PH., deputy director, South Carolina Rural Health Research Center
* Moderator: Trudy Lieberman, contributing editor/columnist, Columbia Journalism Review

11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Reporting on rural health disparities
Living in a rural community and being a minority has been called a "double burden." Both are risk factors for poorer health, a lack of health insurance and reduced access to health services. This session will explore the geographic and economic, as well as racial and ethnic, factors that affect the health of rural residents. We will explore the impact of fragmented health delivery systems, a lack of cultural sensitivity among some providers and how poverty affects health.

* Rosemary McKenzie, minority health liaison and program services manager, National Rural Health Association
* Timothy D. McBride, Ph.D., professor and associate dean for public health, Brown School, Washington University
* Moderator: Charles Ornstein, senior reporter, ProPublica

12:30–2 p.m.

Lunch session
Health care reform: Community matters
Change and growth are on the way for health and health care services that impact the health of American rural communities. In the past year, Dennis Berens, as president of the National Rural Health Association, has had a ringside seat for changes in health reform legislation and how the legislation will mold rural health for years to come. The audience will get the latest update and his thoughts on how Beltway health care reform changes could play in your own area's rural communities.

* Dennis Berens, president, National Rural Health Association; director, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services

2:15–3:15 p.m.

Status of oral health for rural residents
People in rural areas go to emergency rooms for dental pain more than their urban counterparts, and many face economic consequences for having bad teeth. A rapidly expanding network of dental clinics run by federally qualified health centers is trying to address oral health problems in rural America.

* Emily Shortridge, Ph.D., Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis
* Jason Wesco, chief operating officer, Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas
* Moderator: David Wahlberg, Wisconsin State Journal

3:30–4:30 p.m.

Mental health stories in your community
Special obstacles face rural residents who need mental health care. Cultural reluctance to admit a problem, lack of services, and funding shortfalls are a few of the issues that face rural residents who need mental health services. Dr. Roy Menninger will outline the pressing mental health care needs in rural areas and review potential solutions. Drawing from his lengthy career as a psychiatrist and his continued work in the public mental health arena, he will give insight on how journalists can approach stories in their own communities.

* Roy Menninger, M.D., chairman, Kansas Mental Health Coalition
* Moderator: Bryan Thompson, health reporter, Kansas Public Radio

4:30-5:30 p.m.

Closing reception

Rural Health Journalism Workshop 2010
Workshop Home
Speaker Materials