VRHA Annual Conference

2018 Virginia Rural Collaborators Conference
Hosted by the Virginia Rural Health Association
November 14 & 15
Virginia Horse Center
Lexington, VA

For over twenty years, the Virginia Rural Health Association has served as “The Voice for Rural Health in Virginia.”  Rural Health is DIFFERENT.  Rural Americans face a unique combination of factors that create disparities in health care not found in urban areas. Economic factors, cultural and social differences, educational differences, lack of recognition by legislators and the isolation of living in remote rural areas all conspire to impede rural Americans in their struggle to lead a normal, healthy life.

The Virginia Rural Collaborators conference is an occasion to recognize that health in rural areas is not the sole responsibility of doctors and nurses.  Education, economic development, transportation, the built environment, and even social opportunities play a role in the health of individuals and communities.  All aspects of the community are providers or barriers to health.

For more information and to register, please click HERE.

Talks from Head for the Hills 2018

Below are resources from the many excellent talks from Head for the Hills 2018.

VRHA Podcast — The Rural Health Voice

The Rural Health Voice is the podcast of the Virginia Rural Health Association.  It discusses rural health issues at the grassroots level and how state and federal policies play out in our local communities

The Rural Health Voice is sponsored by the Virginia State Office of Rural Health and underwritten by the National Rural Health Association.

To check out The Rural Health Voice podcast, please click HERE.

Opinion: Medicine and Social Justice: Free tuition in medical school is only one step toward producing the doctors America needs

The New York University School of Medicine made headlines earlier this month when it announced that it would offer free tuition to all current and future students. The University says its hope is for students to have the freedom to choose lower-paying specialities, such as those in primary care and family medicine, while lessening the financial burden that accompanies a medical education. The announcement was widely praised by many, but will this actually result in more medical students choosing primary care, and where will these primary care doctors practice? Josh Freeman, author of Medicine and Social Justice, explores this topic in a recent blog post (to read the full article, please click HERE). One line from this post seems especially relevant to Southwest Virginia:

“Thus, students from upper-middle and upper income, primarily white (and Asian) suburbs are most likely to practice in those settings – which are precisely those least in need of more doctors. Students from rural or low-income or minority communities are much more likely to practice in such communities, and these are the places most in need of more doctors.”

According to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, far Southwest Virginia is currently experiencing a shortage of primary care doctors. Free tuition at elite medical schools like NYU may spur more students to choose primary care, but it remains to be seen if this will have an impact on access to primary care doctors in rural and medically underserved areas, such as far Southwest Virginia.

Symposium on Substance Abuse Prevention and Recovery in Appalachia


What: Symposium on Substance Abuse Prevention and Recovery in Appalachia

When: October 4th, 2018 from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Where: Bluefield College, 3000 College Ave, Bluefield, VA 24605

About: A symposium to be held on the Bluefield College campus in Bluefield, VA on Thursday, October 4 from 8am-5pm will feature regional substance abuse prevention and recovery specialists providing presentations, training opportunities and workshops of interest to the general public; professionals in human services, law enforcement, education, health care, mental health; and faith group leaders.

For more information and to register, please click HERE.

Please see symposium schedule below.

7:45 am – 8:00 am

8:00 am – 8:15 am

Registration and Continental Breakfast

Welcome – Dr. David Olive, President of Bluefield College

            Tracks 1 and 2– Full Day Workshops
8:15 am – 12:15 pm Mental Health First Aid – Youth – Room     (Jessica Hutchens)

Mental Health First Aid – Adult – Room     (Kristie Haga)

12:15 – 1 p.m. Lunch & Keynote Speaker on HIDTA –Cafeteria  (Chad Napier)

Vendor Showcase – Shott A & B

1:00 pm – 5 pm Mental Health First Aid Youth – Room   (Jessica Hutchens)
  Mental Health First Aid Adults – Room  (Kristie Haga)
           General Track—Morning Presentations
8:30 am – 9:00 am  

U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith (videotape)


9:00 am – 9:45 am


9:45 am – 10:00 am

Regional Resources Overview: Linda Austin (ASAC), Sharon Kitts (SATIRA) and Sandra Tatum (Regional Warm Line)
Break, Vendor Showcase
10:00 am – 11:00 am Overview of the Opioid Crisis in Appalachia   Room (Dr. Carole Pratt)


11am – noon Energizing Appalachian Communities Using the Strategic Prevention Framework    Room      (Jamie Edwards)
12:15 – 1 p.m. Lunch & Keynote Speaker (Lt. Chad Napier with HIDTA)  Cafeteria

Vendor Showcase – Shott A & B

  General Track– Afternoon Workshops
1:15 pm – 2 pm Handle with Care for Law Enforcement   Room      (Chad Napier)
  Ministries to Inmates, Ex-offenders and Hikers (Linda Austin)
  ACEs and You       Room     (Darrell Harmon)
  Mountain Movers Faith-Based Coalition (Kevin Blankenship)
1:15-3pm Suicide Talk  Room    (Emily Ann Thompson)
2:00—2:15 Break

Vendor Showcase


2:15 pm – 3:00 pm Handle with Care for Childcare Providers/Teachers   Room   (Chad Napier)

Celebrate Recovery  Room       (T.W. Cash, Deana)

Drug Court  (Si’andra Blackwell)

Drug Monitoring Program  Room         (TBD)




 REVIVE!    Room       (Paige Lucas)