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Hillsboro hospital, SIU Population Science win national rural health award

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"Healthy Hillsboro,” a collaboration between Hillsboro Area Hospital and Southern Illinois University School of Medicine’s Department of Population Science and Policy, has been recognized for its efforts to improve the health and well-being of residents in rural environments.

The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) presented a 2022 Outstanding Rural Health Program Award to the organizations at its 45th annual Rural Health Conference in Albuquerque, N.M. on May 12. Sameer Vohra, MD, JD, chair of SIU's Department of Population Science and Policy, and E. David Harrison from Hillsboro Area Hospital, accepted the award.

Healthy Hillsboro aims to improve the community’s social determinants of health by using a systems of care approach to achieve better health outcomes. 

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“The partnership with Hillsboro Area Hospital has resulted in incredibly innovative work that impacts many different age groups and populations in Hillsboro,” said Dr. Vohra. “We’re thrilled to be recognized by the country’s leading voice in rural health but we’re even prouder of the difference this program is making in physical, emotional and mental health in Hillsboro.” The group's social mission focus has included community-based programs to nurture skills for parents with preschoolers, study lung cancer rates and expand mental health support services to youths.

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Rural health award group

“Our partnership with the Department of Population Science and Policy is truly making a difference in our community. The work is touching many individuals at various stages of life to improve the factors that affect health,” said Hillsboro Area Hospital President and CEO Rex Brown.

“We’re extremely proud of this year’s winners, particularly because of the extra challenges rural health care providers have faced since the COVID-19 pandemic began,” said NRHA CEO Alan Morgan. “They have each made tremendous strides to advance rural health care, and we’re confident they will continue to help improve the lives of rural Americans.”

Photo: (left to right) Alan Morgan, National Rural Health Association CEO; Nicole Summers-Gabr, SIU Department of Population Science and Policy; E. David Harrison, Hillsboro Area Hospital; Dr. Sameer Vohra and Heather Whetsell, SIU Department of Population Science and Policy

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