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November 16 is National Rural Health Day, a day when we focus on the needs and strengths of rural healthcare. People in rural areas struggle with a lot of health issues, at higher rates than people who live in cities—heart disease, cancer, unintentional injury, stroke, and chronic respiratory disease. Lots of this is related to the fact that rural areas don’t have enough healthcare providers. In fact, 70% of all health professional shortage areas are located in rural counties.

National Rural Health Day is also a day to celebrate the #PowerOfRural. In spite of the challenges, there are many, many dedicated healthcare providers working in rural communities, and many young people from rural areas studying to become healthcare providers. There are also lots of informal healthcare promoters in the community—that friend who reminds you to go for a run, the spouse that packs a healthy lunch and reminds you to drink water during the day.  All of these people are rural healthcare champions, and we should celebrate and thank them. We should also visit them and listen to them so we can be and stay healthy!

So, to all the formal and informal healthcare champions in rural areas—THANK YOU! We appreciate all you do every day to keep rural America healthy and prospering.

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