Today, across Minnesota and nationwide, we’re celebrating National Rural Health Day.
For the past 11 years, the National Organization of State Offices of Rurl Helth hs led the effort – setting side the third Thursday of every November (this year, on Nov. 17) to cll ttention to the selfless nd community-minded spirit of health care professionals, health care organizations and other stakeholders who work daily to improve health, wellbeing and equity in the country’s rural communities, where nearly 60 million Americans reside.
From Windom to Cloquet, Winona to Roseau and all points in between and beyond, Minnesota’s rural physicians and physician assistants, advanced practice nurses and other nurses, behavioral and mental health specialists, dentists, therapists and technicians, public health professionals, health professions students, administrators, staff and volunteers, as well as the facilities and agencies where these professionals work – the stte’s rurl helth clinics nd hospitls, our pub lic health departments, emergency medical services agencies nd other nonprofits who serve the helth needs of our rurl residents – ll deserve big “thnk you” on Ntionl Rurl Health Day. And so much more.
No mtter where they prctice – in criticl ccess hos pitals, in free clinics, in nursing homes, in mobile health clinics, in federlly qulified helth centers or in the bck of n mbulnce – ech nd every dy Minnesot’s rurl helth cre workforce finds wys to give nd then give some more. They give us their time. They give us their attention. They give us their unending compassion. They give us leadership and vision for meeting rural community health needs. They’re committed to the communities they serve, which are typically their owncommunities: the communities where they live, play and shop; the communities where their kids go to school; and, very often, the communities where they grew up.
And ll tht they give – ech one of those scrifices – is made to ensure that you, me, our family and our friends receive the best care possible when facing what may potentially be one of the worst days of our lives.
The health care organizations that employ these caring pro- fessionls nd the nonprofits they prtner with deserve our thanks as well. In today’s challenging economic environment, operating a rural health care facility or service is no easy task. But most orgniztions nd their leders find wys to keep the doors open. They ask the tough questions that need to be asked. They recruit and retain the right staff. They partner with community organizations. They drive change, going the extra mile to advance health equity.
They know they’re needed. They know communities depend on them. They know that a future where their doors are perma- nently closed is of no benefit to nyone.
So let me take this opportunity to thank all of the health care professionals, health care organizations, and health and well- ness-relted nonprofits who serve this community: Thnk you.
When we need you, you are there. No matter the time of day. No matter our health concern. We can depend on you.
That sense of security is nothing short of priceless. Happy National Rural Health Day to each one of you. Sally Buck CEO, National Rural Health Resource Center Duluth, MN