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National Rural Health Day


“Celebrate the Power of Rural All Year Long"

National Rural Health Day: November 15, 2012


About NRHD
Indiana Rural Community Stories


About NRHD

Rural Indiana communities are wonderful places to live and work, which is why nearly 62 million people – nearly one in five Americans – call them home. These small towns, farming communities and frontier areas are places where neighbors know each other, listen to each other, respect each other, and work together to benefit the greater good. They are also some of the best places to start a business and test your “entrepreneurial spirit.” These communities provide the rest of the country with a wealth of services and commodities, and they are the economic engine that has helped the United State become the world economic power it is today.

First and foremost, National Rural Health Day is an opportunity to “Celebrate the Power of Rural” by honoring the selfless, community-minded, “can do” spirit of that prevails in rural Indiana and America. But it also gives us a chance to bring to light the unique healthcare challenges that rural communities face – and showcase the efforts of rural healthcare providers. This is the day to celebrate the uniqueness and charm of rural Indiana and its communities. Through this initiative , the Indiana Rural Health Association (IRHA) will be working to increase the awareness of the unique health care issues facing rural communities and highlighting the efforts and achievements toward advocacy in rural Indiana communities. 

These rural Indiana communities also have unique healthcare needs. Today more than ever, rural communities must address accessibility issues, a lack of healthcare providers, the needs of an aging population suffering from a greater number of chronic conditions, and larger percentages of un- and underinsured citizens. Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) and rural hospitals – which are often the economic foundation of their communities in addition to being the primary providers of care – struggle daily as declining reimbursement rates and disproportionate funding levels make it challenging to serve their residents.

We know there is work to be done, but we also believe there is plenty to celebrate – and we invite you to join the celebration! Visit IRHAs NRHD web page  for tools and ideas on how you can celebrate the National Rural Health Day: The Power of Rural in your community.

IRHA would like to encourage others who have an interest in rural healthcare to participate in this very exciting celebration of rural too. We ask that you send us pictures that you feel reflects your community: whether they are at your workplace, community events, your rural landscape or even famous persons from your area. If you would like to send us a statement on why you like living in rural Indiana, we would love to read it We will use your pictures and stories for our programs and conference presentations, and put them on our web site. We will be lifting up the “Power of Rural.” This is an exciting time for rural Indiana, and we are looking forward to the festivities.

November 16, 2011 - NRHD Long Overdue - Alexandra Wilson-Pecci, HealthLeaders Media

November 17, 2011 - National Rural Health Day Proclamation from Governor Daniels’  In recognition of Nov. 17th National Rural Health Day, this award was presented to Don Kelso, Executive Director of the Indiana Rural Health Association on behalf of all the rural communities in Indiana by the Lt. Governor Becky Skillman. 



Past Celebrations

November 17, 2011 - Putnam County Hospital Celebration !!!
NRHD Press Release
Celebration Pictures 

November 17, 2011 - St. Vincent Jennings Celebration!!!
Mayoral Proclamation  presented to the SV Jennings community 

November 17, 2011 - St. Vincent Clay Celebration!!!
Mayoral Proclamation signed and festivities with staff. 

November 17, 2011 - Greene County General Hospital Celebration!!!
Mayoral Proclamation Article  - Mayor Patti Jones signs the GCGH NRHD Proclamation

Indiana Rural Community Stories

Share 'Your' Power... Click here to send your local community stories and events for posting on the web site.

St. Vincent Clay Hospital 
Written by Brazil Times Newspaper and submitted 11/16/2011 by Andrea Baysinger, SV Clay Hospital
Mayor Ann Bradshaw signed a proclamation Monday to annually recogize the third Thursday in November as National Rural Health Day in Brazil, Indiana, and to encourage citizens to honor rural communities as good places to live and work. The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) created National Rural Health Day as a way to showcase rural America, increase awareness of rural health-related issues and promote the efforts of NOSORH, State Offices of Rural Health and others addressing those issues. "We want to draw attention to the asset of a rural hospital in the community," Chief Executive Officer, St. Vincent Clay Hospital, Jerry Laue said. Approximately 62 million people -- nearly one in five Americans -- live in rural and frontier communities throughout the United States. Ambulatory and emergency medical services are critical to rural America, where nearly 60 percent of all trauma deaths occur. Laue said not only do rural hospitals bring healthcare benefits to communities, but they bring economic benefits as well.

Rural hospitals are typically the economic foundation of their communities, with every dollar spent generating about $2.20 for the local economy. The NOSORH plan to have National Rural Health Day become an annual celebration on the third Thursday of each November.Clay County will be celebrating at St. Vincent Clay Hospital Thursday, Nov. 17, with cake and punch. Laue said he hopes to show the hospital workers they are appreciated. Laue explained the hospital has partnerships with the local YMCA, school athletics to take care of student athletes, health fairs and programs for uninsured and underinsured community members. "Through the board's efforts, the technology and knowledge we have now is really significant," he said. "We want people to recognize that."
The proclamation Bradshaw signed encourages citizens to recognize the unique healthcare needs and opportunities that exist in the community and recognize St. Vincent Clay Hospital for the valuable services they provide to address those needs and opportunities. "From the board perspective, we want to reevaluate how we see ourselves in the future -- our vision for what we aspire to be," Laue said. "We see ourselves as doing the work that Jesus did -- taking care of the sick and poor."
All 50 states have a State Office of Rural Health, each sharing a similar mission: to foster relationships, disseminate information and provide technical assistance that improves access to, and the quality of, health care for its rural citizens.

[Pictured] Mayor Ann Bradshaw signed a proclamation to recognize the third Thursday in November annually as National Rural Health Day. Those attending the signing were St. Vincent Clay Hospital's (from left) Chief Nursing Officer Sandy Haggart, Chief Financial Officer Wayne Knight, Board Chair Lynsey Lunsford, Board Member Mark Thiemann, (seated) Bradshaw and Chief Executive Officer Jerry Laue.

Indiana University Health Starke Hospital
Submitted 11/16/2011 by Shellie Kermin, Marketing Coordinator
Indiana University Health Starke Hospital, part of a statewide nationally ranked health system, is a 53 bed hospital in a rural community that has a strong hometown relationship with our local community.  Over the past months IU Health Starke Hospital has done many things for the well being and health of our community members.  To name a few, we became a tobacco free hospital campus, we planted gardens for area residents to have access to fresh vegetables, and we cleaned and updated playgrounds for the schools in our area.  Also, in conjunction with IU Health and United Way we began a new program called “Kindergarten Countdown”, which offered a kindergarten camp to children who had little exposure to preschool.  This was a very popular event and will look to doing this again next summer.  We also gave free bicycle helmets and car seats, along with inspections of car seats to those children in need.  Finally, we have a program in our schools, called Lil’ F.I.S.H. (Feel Important…Stay Healthy) Club™ that teaches all our area 4th graders about positive image and personal hygiene.  Lastly, our foundation has secured a Susan G. Komen grant so we can offer those that qualify free mammograms.  We truly care and strive to be out helping, educating and caring for the members of our community.

St. Vincent Jennings Hospital 
Submitted 11/11/2011 by Kathryn Johnson, St. Vincent Jennings Hospital, North Vernon, IN. 
The  Jennings  County Health department staff presented 'Ribbons for a Reason' event in September 2011 at the North Vernon City Park, North Venrnon, Indiana.  The event was designed to bring our communities together to support our neighbors, friends, and  families who bear ribbons for various reasons.  The mission was to educate on health issues, promote wellness, prevent illnesses; and to raise awareness and funds for health related causes.  Numerous activities took place during the one-day event including a 5K run/walk, corn hole tournament, food vendors, live entertainment, health exhibits, childrens activities, autograph session with Indiana Pacer Mascot Boomer, and a movie on the lawn.  An amount of $6800 was raised for the event and health related causes such as, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Autism Speaks, Susan B. Koman etc...  The 'Ribbon for a Reason' event would not have been possible without our sponsors  and the following community partners who attended the event; St. Vincent Hospital, Schneck Medical Center, Millers Chiropractic, Diabetes Youth Camp, Jennings Chiropractic, Red Cross, OVO, Fitted Foot, Jennings County EMS, Jackson/Jennings Co-Op, Help at Home, Natures Health, Jennings County Home Health, Jennings County WIC, Jennings County Library, Jennings County High School Art, Drama, Swim Team, and Music department, Jennings County 4-H Extension, Hoosiers Burn Camp, Vernon Fire Department, Hainey Place Care, First Chrisitan Church, and ChristWay Christian Church.

Perry County Hospital 
Submitted 11/11/2011 by Sheila Clark, Vice President of Nursing Services, Perry County Memorial Hospital 
Perry County Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Room competed in an Emergency Nurses Week Challenge hosted by the Emergency Nurses Association Chapter 137 on Oct 13, 2011.  We were the only CAH competing and we were up against Owensboro Medical Health Center in Owensboro KY, St. Mary’s Medical Center and Deaconess Hospital in Evansville.  We refer patients from our ER to each of these facilities.  In addition we competed against Regional Medical Center Madisonville KY and Methodist Hospital in Henderson KY.  Our team of bedside ER nurses WON 1st place against these tough competitors and to make it even better, this is the 3rd year for the competition and we have won first place every year.  We are very proud of our nurses and the care they give in our ER.

Rush Memorial Hospital
Submitted 10/28/2011 by Deb Hummel, Community and Special Projects Liaison. Rush Memorial Hospital participates in the Reach Out and Read program where children from 6 months to 5 years of age receive free brand-new age-appropriate books during each Well Child visit in our physician offices.  New and gently used books are given to the brothers and sisters accompanying the well child visit as well as any patient who comes in for a non-Well Child visit.  Rush Memorial put together 2 baskets for a silent auction Reach Out and Reach fundraiser this fall and we are expecting over $300.00 worth of new books before the end of 2011.  Our program coordinator, Debbie Meek, recently submitted a story about the success of the program to a contest sponsored by Reach Out and Read and received 100 new books as the winner.  The community greatly appreciates Rush Memorial Hospital’s contribution to our rural community’s literacy efforts. 

Rush Memorial HospitalSubmitted 10/28/2011 by Deb Hummel, Community and Special Projects Liaison

Brian's Cause
In the fall of 2006, Brian Conner, a lifelong Rush County resident, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer.  As a result, it didn’t take long to exceed his insurance coverage.  Upon learning this, a group of family and friends within the community got together and began raising funds to help cover medical costs that Brian could not afford after his insurance had reached the maximum amount of coverage.  This group effort became known as “Brian’s Cause”.  The group decided to partner with the local rural community hospital, Rush Memorial Hospital, in an ongoing effort knowing there would be other “Brians” from this community who will need the same aid and support shown to Brian. 
Rush Memorial Hospital’s goal is to create a county-wide movement to end the financial cancer battle. The Brian’s Cause fund helps Rush County residents, who qualify through a screening process, fight their financial battle brought on by treatments costs.  All of the money raised is being used to help Rush County residents. One hundred percent of the donations stay local and will be used for family, friends, and neighbors in Rush County who are battling cancer and need assistance with out-of-pocket costs associated with the high cost of cancer treatments.

The second annual “Together We Can” event held one day during October raised over $15,000 for the Brian’s Cause Cancer Relief Fund and plans are already underway for next year’s event.

Union Hospital Clinton
Submitted by Terri Hill and Kelly Walker, Union Hospital Clinton 2011. Heart Health Information Saves Lifes: During a community event, Jeannette Wallace picked up some literature given out by U nion  Hospital Clinton, a    Critical Access Hospital in Clinton, IN. The information s he received included a card listing heart attack warning signs. When she went home, Jeannette stuck the card on her refrigerator door. Several times when she would wash the refrigerator, Jeannette thought about taking the card down and throwing it away. But for one reason or another, she left it there. Then one Tuesday in March, Jeannette and her husband, Chester, who are rural Clinton residents, were out of town when Chester started experiencing some pain. Jeannette believed he was having a heart attack and tried to convince her husband to go to the hospital, but he refused. He thought it was just indigestion. The next day, at home, Chester felt a little better.
By Thursday, Chester started feeling poorly again. Jeannette went straight to her refrigerator, grabbed the heart attack warning signs card and started going down the checklist with Chester. “I said, ‘Do you hurt here? Do you hurt here?’ and every one of them he said yes,” Jeanette said referring to the list of symptoms the card referenced. “I said, ‘You’re having a heart attack.’” Thi s time, Chester agreed with his wife’s assessment, and she called their doctor, Frank Swaim, M.D. “Dr. Swaim said to take him to the hospital right away,” Jeannette said. “And I took him to Union Hospital Clinton (UHC). They were waiting on him, and he was having a heart attack.”

Chester was treated in the UHC Emergency Department and transferred to Union Hospital in Terre Haute. “I feel like Clinton did a really good job down there of stabilizing him until he got to Terre Haute,” she said. Chester’s heart had suffered damages due to blockage. He was rushed to the hospital’s cath lab for the immediate placement of two stents to open the coronary arteries. “Evidently, one heart attack had been Tuesday night and one had been on Thursday,” Jeanette said. The physician at Union Hospital in Terre Haute warned her that if they would’ve waited any longer, Chester might not have survived. “The doctor said to me, ‘A little bit longer, you would’ve had no husband,” she said.

Fortunately, Chester has made a full recovery. The couple celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on June 8, and on June 16, Chester turned 86. “He hasn’t had any trouble since then,” Jeannette said. “He mows the yard and uses the weed eater.” Jeannette is thankful for the health education Union Hospital Clinton provides for the community. While she knew some of the signs of heart attack such as pain in your arm and on your left side, she wasn’t aware of the symptoms of nausea. Without that information card that identified the warning signs, Chester might not have gone to the hospital. “It finally convinced him,” Jeannette said.

UHC Administrator Terri Hill encourages everyone to learn the signs of heart attack so you can act fast to get treatment. “People tend to wait when they think they might be having a heart attack, and that’s a mistake,” Hill said. “The average patient arrives in the emergency department more than two hours after the onset of symptoms, but what they don’t realize is that the sooner a heart attack is treated, the less damage to the heart and the better the outcome for the patient.” The Society of Chest Pain Centers (SCPC) recently renewed UHC’s Chest Pain Center Accreditation. To achieve this three-year accreditation, UHC engaged in rigorous evaluations by SCPC for its ability to assess, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack.  

Jasper County Hospital
Submitted by Sheila White, Jasper County Hospital (2011) On July 22, 2011, Jasper County Hospital, a Critical Access Hospital, in Rensselaer, Indiana installed a new, cutting-edge Vantage MRI system. The new device deli vers s uperior image qu ality, times, and diagnoses, while saving rural patients from having to drive over 45 minutes to receive a similar examination. Patient comfort is also much improved due to an integrated coil concept which facilitates gathering multiple angles without the need to move the patient. Additionally, the manufacturers patented noise reduction technology removes one of the biggest complaints about MRI examinations – the sound of the machine.

Pictured in the center, Betty Brown, Rensselaer, prepares to receive the inaugural examination on the new MRI from Andi Crownover, RT(R)(MR) and Curtis Gutwein, RT(R)(CT). Betty said that she is very claustrophobic, but felt comfortable during her exam.  

Pulaski Memorial Hospital
Submitted by Jeff Boer, Pulaski Memorial Hospital (2011) Pulaski Memorial Hospital, a Critical Access Hospital in Winamac, has implemented two telemedicine programs, because of their participation in the Indiana Telehealth Network (ITN). They have also joined the Stroke Care Now Network, which allows them to provide remote diagnosis of stroke and vascular diseases of the brain to their patients. Additionally, they are recent members of the IRHA Telemental Health Network furthering their ability to provide remote mental and behavioral health services to patients.  

Union Hospital Clinton
Submitted by Kelly Walker, Union Hospital Clinton, Clinton, Indiana (2011)  It’s  been  one year since Jason Reed walked in the Indy Mini-M arathon, and it’s still hard to believe what he accomplished. No, Jason didn’t win the race, or even finish it. He merely completed five miles at a pace just a little faster than 18 minutes per mile. But for Jason, that accomplishment is a miracle, and one he shared alongside his Union Hospital Clinton (UHC) Occupational Therapist Bindu Abraham. In December 2008, two year’s prior to Jason’s entry in the marathon, he was involved in a single-car accident that nearly took his life. Jason sustained severe head and spinal cord injuries along with a snapped sternum, shattered pelvis, broken collarbone and several other broken bones. He was in a coma for two weeks, on a ventilator for four and had no use of his left side. After multiple surgeries and medical rehabilitation, Jason returned to his hometown of Clinton for outpatient therapy in March 2009. “I walked using a walker. I couldn’t lift my left arm. I couldn’t carry anything,” Jason said describing his condition when he began therapy at UHC. Jason began a therapy regi men that included muscular re-education and exercises to improve his strength, coordination and balance with Abraham and Physical Therapist Adam Pomfret. “With Jason, our main goals were to improve his walking and balance. Our activities centered around safe community walking,” Pomfret said. “We had various balance exercises we used to help him improve safe walking.”

After three months of physical therapy at UHC, Jason was able to walk again without assistance. After 10 months of occupational therapy, he had regained the use of his left arm. “From where he started to where he is now, that is tremendous,” Abraham said. Jason credits his successful recovery to the motivation and determination of the therapy staff at UHC combined with his own ambition. “I looked forward to coming here. I looked forward to working with them,” he said. “A good therapist will push you and make you do things you thought you wouldn’t be able to do.” And that’s just what they did. During one of Jason’s therapy sessions, Abraham mentioned she had previously participated in the Indy Mini-Marathon and wondered if Jason would be interested in taking part. “It was a good goal for me to say, ‘Look at how far I came,’” he said. “A year ago I couldn’t even sit up in bed, let alone walk.”
So, Jason began training for the marathon, and though his therapy was over, Abraham continued to check in with him and provide encouragement in themonths leading up to the event. Then, in May 2010, Jason and Abraham traveled to Indianapolis for the race. Jason finished five miles of the 13-mile trek. “He was so brave. All of the volunteers doing the marathon were saying to him, ‘You’re such an inspiration,’” Abraham said.Abraham went on to complete the marathon, and received a medal for finishing, which she, in turn, gave to Jason. “Even though I didn’t finish, she gave her medal to me, because she said my accomplishment was greater than hers,” Jason said.

Now, two and a half years after the accident, Jason’s life has regained normalcy. He works in his father’s Clinton restaurant, Terra Villa, and has started a disc jockey business working area events. While Jason still struggles with some activities, such as jamming out on his guitar the way he used to before the accident, he has come a long way in his recovery and continues to see improvement. “In therapy, our main goal is to target a person’s physical limitations to help them return to the activities they ne ed to do, or to those activities they enjoy,” Pomfret said. “These limitations can be caused from a wide variety of physical conditions such as neck and back pain, joint replacement, various forms of arthritis, stroke, brain injury, various neurological conditions, sports injuries, chronic wounds and amputations. “ UHC’s therapy team is dedicated to providing advanced rehabilitation services for all ages in a setting conducive to healing. “I enjoyed taking leaps of faith with them. They did a very good job of pushing me,” Jason said. “Plus, they are very personable.”
PHOTO: Jason Reed (front) visits with UHC therapy staff (left to right) Bindu Abraham, Terra Naylor, Lauri Ellis, Adam Pomfret, Denise Akers and Lori Davis. 

Jasper County Hospital
Submitted by Kirby Reed, Jasper County Hospital, a Critical Access Hospital in Rensselaer, Indiana (2011) We, at Jasper County Hospital, do not have a Radiologist onsite 24 hours a day, so our stat ER images are read by another group in Indiana. The size of CT study can vary greatly depending on the modality, the study performed, and how many slices are obtained. We have had MR/CT studies reach near 500 MB. We just switched over utilizing the Indiana Telehealth Network (ITN) today, and we are already seeing Cat Scan (CT) studies with almost 700 images that used to take almost 19 minutes to transmit being transmitted in a little over eight minutes. This allows critical results to be delivered much quicker. Ultimately, it also helps our emergency room physicians make faster decisions in the care of the patients in our community.  

Rush Memorial Hospital
Submitted by Jim Boyer, Rush Memorial Hospital, a Critical Access Hospital in Rushville, Indiana (2011) The teamwork between the Indiana Rural Health Association (IRHA), Indiana Telehealth Network (ITN), NineStar Communications, and Rush Memorial Hospital has provided fiber optic connectivity at 10 GB speeds for Rush Memorial Hospital and their community. This connection allows for faster bandwidth speeds for the hospital and its clinics. The relationship has also allowed Rush Memorial Hospital to stay competitive in an ever changing healthcare market and advance towards the future of healthcare interoperability. Now, Rush Memorial has connections to metropolitan healthcare services not typically found in rural healthcare settings. In the community, the Rural Healthcare Pilot Program has helped economic developments with local and metropolitan businesses and rural Rush County.  

St. Vincent Randolph Hospital
St. Vincent Randolph Hospital, a Critical Access Hospital, in Winchester, Indiana has instituted a Farm Health Initiative, which offers free or inexpensive health checkups at local events which farmers frequent. We’re taking our health care to the farmers,” said Kathy Beumer, the director of the hospital’s foundation. The initiative offers checkups and screenings at major local farming events, such as the Randolph County Ag Days held each March. It offers evening appointments once a week at one of the hospital’s rural clinics. Its staff members make drop-in visits to grain elevators during harvest season and conduct refresher courses on farm-related injuries for area emergency responders.
The varying list of services can include checks of blood pressure, blood sugar, bone density, skin lesions, pulmonary function, hearing tests, and tetanus shots. At an ev ent on August 18, over 50 farmers took advantage of the services. “It’s a good thing. It’s convenient and cheaper than a doctor,” said Winchester farmer, Alfred Groth II. “More farmers should be taking advantage of this.” 
  At the farm events, the initiative staff lists the results of tests on index cards that farmers can take to doctors or the hospital’s four rural clinics for further examination. As part of the initiative, St. Vincent Randolph offers 20 percent discounts on fees for members of the Randolph County Farm Bureau. “We’ve been told that we’ve saved farmers’ lives,” said Farm Health Initiative coordinator, Angie Miller. “That is what makes this so worthwhile.”  
Story submitted by Kathy  Beumer with St. Vincent Randolph Hospital   (2011)



If you have ideas on what you would like to do in your community or what you would like to see from us click here.


National Rural Health Day Logo

NRHD Mayoral Proclamation Template
NRHD Key Messages
“Save the Date” Card
National Rural Health Day Stickers
Social Media Release
Rural/Critical Access Hospitals draft letters
Local Chambers of Commerce and City/town Councils draft letters to submit to legislators and/or media outlets expressing their support for NRHDand stressing the importance of supporting rural health programs
Newsletter Article/Member Release Template partner organizations can use to share National Rural Health Day with their members and/or media contacts

Other ideas:

  1. Answer your phone on NRHD by saying “Hello … Happy National Rural Health Day!”
  2. Visit one of those morning news shows and hold up a sign that says “Happy National Rural Health Day!”
  3. Wear a National Rural Health Day T-shirt to school or work
  4. Plan a group run or some other kind of fitness activity
  5. Do something “healthy” that day – eat more vegetables, bike instead of drive to work, get your blood pressure or cholesterol checked, etc.
  6. Write a letter to the editor or contact a local legislator to stress the importance of addressing the health needs of rural communities
  7. Thank a rural health provider for all they do!

Looking to publicize your National Rural Health Day event in your community?

The Indiana Rural Health Association (IRHA) is happy to add your event to this web page.

Contact Cindy Large at

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