Rural health faces unique barriers, especially when it comes to accessing adequate care that can at times be a matter of life and death. Transforming rural health requires creative, placed-based solutions and a commitment to creating local partnerships and leadership.
November 15th is National Rural Health Day (NRHD). Started in 2010 by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH), NRHD is a way to applaud ongoing efforts, contributions, and collaborations occurring in rural communities to address the unique challenges in accessing and delivering health care services.
A key focus of NRHD is to highlight the #powerofrural through the use of strategic alignments with community partners to optimize collective contributions and create common objectives to improve health. Mobility managers are critical to these solutions as it would be useless to discuss the transformation of a health care system without discussing how people will travel to receive care. NOSORH calls out four ways that communities can engage with one another to reach these goals. These calls to action should also be a part of every rural mobility manager’s toolkit when looking to partner with health care and other community stakeholders.
- Collaborate: Due to the fact that mobility management positions are not limited to just the transportation world, collaboration with such professionals in other sectors can provide valuable tools for future projects, understanding, and collaboration. New relationships allow for additional insights and resources to be shared across sectors.
- Communicate: Mobility managers should use a spectrum of channels to communicate information with their peers across sectors, but it’s just as important to engage with community members about services and the need for better coordination. Work with local, state, regional, and national organizations in both transportation and health care to assist in spreading the word about your work.
- Educate: It is critical to initiate frequent informational exchanges with stakeholders regarding the many ways in which transportation impacts rural heath, and work towards solutions that address challenges facing access. Education is a critical piece to ensure that partners understand the value of mobility management.
- Innovate: Engaging new partners in both health care and other industries brings new views to the table which can spur creativity around new solutions to the challenges communities face. Mobility managers should push partners and community members to explore new approaches to improve access to care, especially for at-risk populations such as older adults, low-income individuals, or individuals with disabilities.
While these calls to action are nothing groundbreaking, they serve as important reminders about the work we can do each day to create new partnerships and work together towards improving our communities.
Image Credit: NCMM Staff