Category Archives: rural health issues

The Big-City Guide to Small-Town Living

The GMEC blog will be taking a break for the holiday season.  We leave you with this essay from the Daily Yonder:

I watched over the last decade or so as successful big-city professionals retire and move out to the fringes of my rural town. They typically buy farms or ranchettes and imagine themselves living in a sylvan or riverine setting with big horned owls hooting and coyotes howling in the distance after a kill. Some of them learn to fit in and truly find a home. Many others make it about five years and move back to the city or elsewhere, inevitably “to be closer to their grandkids.”

I wondered, what makes for a successful transition to the small-town life that I love so much. The following 10 rules I personally pulled out of a very authoritative hat.

Read the 10 Rules for Small-Town Living.

REVIVE!

Virginia has been severely impacted by opioid abuse, particularly the abuse of prescription drugs. In 2013, 386 individuals died from the abuse of FHMO, an increase of 1,578%, with fentanyl being the primary substance fueling this increase.  In 2013, drug-related deaths happened at a higher per capita level (11.0 deaths per 100,000) than motor vehicle crashes (10.1 per 100,000).

REVIVE! is the Opioid Overdose and Naloxone Education (ONE) program for the Commonwealth of Virginia. REVIVE! provides training to professionals, stakeholders, and others on how to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose emergency with the administration of naloxone (Narcan ®).

At Head for the Hills, Dr. Hughes Melton provided an overview of the REVIVE! program. This allowed the participants to:

  • Understand the REVIVE! program, including lay administration of naloxone, protection from civil liability, and the safe reporting of overdoses law
  • Understand how opioid overdose emergencies happen and how to recognize them
  • Understand how naloxone works
  • Identify risk factors that may make someone more susceptible to an opioid overdose emergency
  • Dispel common myths about how to reverse an opioid overdose
  • Learn how to respond to an opioid overdose emergency with the administration of naloxone

Additional information about REVIVE! and opioid abuse in Virginia can be found on the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Services website.

 

Do Residents Return?

“Grow your own” is a popular phrase for those trying to improve the supply of health professionals in rural areas.  But does it work? The USDA recently released a report titled “Factors Affecting Former Residents’ Returning to Rural Communities“.

Factors which encouraged residents to return to their rural roots:

  • presence of parents
  • desire to raise their children back home
  • easy-going environment
  • outdoor recreation

Local schools also played an important role.  People who had a positive outlook on rural schools came back; those who felt that urban schools would better fit their child’s needs, did not.

The report summary goes on to say:

Family motivations dominated, but returning home also depended on securing a job, often involving creative strategies to overcome employment limitations. Return migrants frequently mentioned their acceptance of financial and career sacrifices for returning home. Most nonreturnees who may have considered coming home cited low wages and lack of career opportunities as the primary barriers to their return.

So the challenge for rural recruiters is: what can be done to improve the factors that can be controlled – school systems and economic environment?