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Shepherd to host rural health care conference

By Staff | May 4, 2017

Shepherd University is hosting a seminar on rural health policy featuring three of the nation’s leaders in rural health on Friday, April 28, from 2-5 p.m. in the Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education auditorium. The forum, titled “Training a New Generation to Ensure Affordable, Quality Rural Healthcare,” is free and open to students, faculty, staff, and the public and will include an announcement of two new internships at the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) or Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP).

The seminar will address how to ensure access to affordable, quality healthcare for rural residents, how to select Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement approaches that help rural healthcare facilities keep their doors open, and how to attract healthcare providers to rural communities. The internships are designed to help teams of Shepherd University students and their faculty mentors learn about rural health policy.

Speakers will include Tom Morris, associate administrator and director of FORHP, who will discuss current issues in rural health policy from the federal perspective; Alan Morgan, chief executive officer of NRHA, discussing current rural health issues from an advocacy perspective; and Dr. Marcia K. Brand, chair of Shepherd’s Board of Governors, senior advisor to the Dentaquest Foundation, and executive director of the National Interprofessional Initiative on Oral Health, who will give a brief overview and history of rural health policy.

Shepherd University President Mary J.C. Hendrix, a nationally renowned cancer researcher, will give opening remarks; Amy Elizondo, MPH, vice president of the program services at the NRHA, will discuss her previous experience as a rural health policy intern and internship opportunities for Shepherd students; and Dr. Sharon Mailey, chair of Shepherd’s Department of Nursing Education, and Dr. Ben Martz, chair of Shepherd’s Department of Business Administration, will discuss how faculty and student teams can apply for the internships.

The National Rural Health Association is a national nonprofit membership organization with more than 21,000 members. The association’s mission is to provide leadership on rural health issues through advocacy, communication, education, and research. NRHA membership consists of a diverse collection of individuals and organizations, all of which share the common bond of an interest in rural health.

As part of the Health Resources and Services Administration under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy has a department-wide responsibility for analyzing the effects of policy on rural communities and helps shape rural health policy in a variety of ways. The office advises the secretary of health and human services on major issues such as the effects of Medicare and Medicaid on rural citizens’ access to healthcare. The office also has established working relationships with other federal agencies in the development of policy and regulatory decisions.