Health Professionals Discuss Rural Care Options

More Than 600 Groups Attended Rural Health Conference

DULUTH, Minn. – Quality health care can be tough to find for many rural Minnesotans.  So the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care and the Minnesota Rural Health Association joined forces with the Duluth–based National Rural Health Resource Center to find solutions.

“We’re working in approaches to provide resources for rural health communities and providers,” said Sally Buck, CEO, National Rural Health Resource Center.
At the two-day  conference, more than 600 groups shared information on how to better serve rural communities.

“We found bringing different providers, communities, and organizations together, they can share their lessons learned and best practices,” said Buck.  “Also they could identify what’s emerging.”

This conference not only brings professionals from nearly every aspect of the medical field together to discuss how to better serve rural communities, medical students are also invited in hopes of convincing them to pursue a career in rural medicine.

“Rural practice is definitely at the top of my list, it’s the biggest reason I went into medicine,” said medical student Benita Behm.

Behm just finished her first year of medical school at the University of Minnesota Duluth.  She says she likes how rural medicine is more personal than urban medicine.

“There’s more connections and relationships between physicians and their patients,” said Behm.  “They’re not just their patients; they’re also their friends, neighbors or family members.”

For some of the vendors, students’ like Behm are an encouraging sign.

“It’s fun to see first and second year medical students walking around and gaining information,” said Mike Horner of the Minnesota Rural Health Cooperative.

The students weren’t the only ones learning as professionals look for answers despite an unsure future for the Affordable Care Act.

“There’s a lot of unknown for everyone in the country on health care coverage and the ACA, but also what’s the impact on rural?,” said Buck.

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