Policy Analyst Kristi Ressel recently attended the Rural Health Workforce Conference hosted by the Missouri Rural Health Association in partnership with the Missouri University School of Medicine and the Health Resource Services Administration (HRSA). The conference offered an opportunity to network with partner agencies and organizations working to improve the health of rural Missourians. The conference included a welcome session hosted by University of Missouri President, Mun Choi on the NextGen Precision Health initiative’s impact and reach, specifically for rural health providers.
One of the standout sessions during the conference provided a hopeful review of how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted rural communities. Presenters from the Health Care Collaborative of Rural Missouri, the Missouri Hospital Association, and the University of Missouri reflected on the impact of COVID-19 in their daily lives and the resiliency of our frontline health care providers. The speakers each discussed the challenges of a constantly evolving environment that frontline workers were dealing with during the heart of the outbreak. Yet, each speaker also highlighted the pandemic silver linings such as the expansion of telehealth capabilities, community appreciation for local hospital connections, and increased provider confidence and competencies in rural Missouri.
The conference provided a look at the work being completed by the rural health workforce and the impact of COVID-19 on rural providers. While the policy implications for COVID-19 are ongoing, the reflective tone of the conference offers a motivating glimpse of the resiliency of Missouri’s rural communities and their providers.
To learn more, visit the Missouri Rural Health Association website.