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Webinar to discuss rural experiences, innovations driven by COVID

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Despite causing incredible hardship and loss of life, the global pandemic also sparked innovation and improved ways to deliver health care to Illinois’ rural communities. On Thursday, April 28, health and policy experts from Southern Illinois University (SIU) Medicine Department of Population Science and Policy, Paul Simon Public Policy Institute and UIC School of Public Health joined Illinois Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton to discuss how the pandemic is changing health care in rural communities, as well as the improvements and investments needed to move forward.

“We’ve studied how COVID-19 has changed topics like aging, mental health, public health, nutrition, children’s development, the health care workforce, opioid abuse and homelessness in Illinois’ rural communities,” said Dr. Sameer Vohra, chair of SIU Medicine’s Department of Population Science and Policy. “This webinar will provide a cumulative view on how rural communities can take the lessons learned from COVID to emerge stronger and more resilient.”

The webinar — the final one of the series — runs from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday, April 28. It is free to the public but requires advance registration.

Since the onset of COVID-19, SIU Medicine Department of Population Science and Policy, SIU Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, The University of Illinois Chicago School of Public Health and the SIU Medicine Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development have studied the impact of COVID-19 in Illinois rural communities. Rural Health Summit partners have released policy briefs and hosted corresponding webinars on an aging rural population, mental health, public health systems, nutrition and fitness, children’s growth and development, workforce development, opioids, and health and housing.

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