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?

SEPTEMBER NATIONAL CHILDHOOD OBESITY AWARENESS MONTH

September Childhood Obesity AwarenesssAccording to healthfinder.gov one in three children in the United States is overweight or obese.  Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Complications of childhood obesity are:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Liver Disease
  • Asthma
  • High Cholesterol
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Emotional & Mental Health
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Feet Problems

September Childhood Obesity Contributing Factors

AUGUST NATIONAL IMMUNIZATION AWARENESS MONTH

August ClipVaccines give parents the safe, proven power to protect their children from over a dozen serious diseases before the age of 2.  Diseases such as flu, measles and whooping cough (pertussis) can be life threatening to newborns and young babies.  Women should receive the Tdap (tetanus, diptheria, pertussis) vaccine with each pregnancy between the 27-36 week time frame.

August Clip 3Children age 4 to 6 need boosters for DTaP (diptheria, tetanus, pertussis), chickenpox, MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) and polio.  At 11 or 12 years of age preteens and teens need Tdap (tetanus, diptheria, pertussis), MenACWY (meningococcal conjugate vaccine) and HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccines.  Yearly flu shots are recommended for children 6 months and older.

August Clip 8 Young men and women who have not started or finished the HPV vaccine series can be vaccinated through 26 years of age.  Meningococcal vaccine is recommended especially first-year students who will be living in residence halls.

August Clip 5Immunization helps prevent dangerous and sometimes deadly diseases.  To stay protected against serious illnesses like the flu, measles and tuberculosis adults need to get their shots—-just like children do.   All adults get the yearly flu vaccine and Tdap once if not received at adolescence to protect against pertussis (whooping cough) and a Td (tetanus) booster every 10 years.  Other adult vaccines such as shingles (caused by the chicken pox virus varicella), pneumococcal, hepatitis and HPV depending on life style and health status.

August Clip 9Vaccines protect not only individuals but entire communities and that is the reason vaccines are such a vital part of the public health goal of preventing diseases.

August Clip 7

MAY IS BEHAVIORAL HEALTH MONTH

Behavioral-HealthMay is the month when we focus on Behavioral Health. In Southwest Virginia, we are designated as federally underserved in Behavioral Healthcare. We especially seek pediatric behavioral health specialists, but we’re always happy to talk to anyone interested in doing a residency rotation or being recruited to the area in this underserved field.