Rural Health Summit
In August 2018, SIU Medicine Department of Population Science and Policy, Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, UIC School of Public Health, SIU Medicine Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development and the Illinois Department of Public Health convened an influential group of rural health experts and stakeholders in Springfield. The two-day event gathered information and inspiration to begin drafting and executing a blueprint to improve the health of residents in rural Illinois. Summit participants identified specific challenges to rural communities: physician shortages, opioid use, childhood disparities, an aging population, obesity, housing and the rural economy. That Summit resulted in a report focused on rural disparities and challenges faced by rural communities.
When the COVID-19 pandemic swept the US in 2020, the Department of Population Science and Policy, Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, UIC School of Public Health and SIU Medicine Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development re-convened to host virtual focus groups to address COVID's impact on the topics identified in the 2018 summit. The Rural Health Summit partners released 11 reports and hosted nine webinars on the pandemic's impact on rural issues and the innovative solutions employed by rural communities.
The work of the Rural Health Summit continued in the 2022 Innovating Illinois Rural Health Event Series, presented by Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Department of Population Science and Policy, Southern Illinois University School of Law and Southern Illinois Healthcare. This series of virtual and in-person events celebrated rural innovation and shared best practices for rural communities.
In 2023, SIU Medicine Department of Population Science and Policy and Southern Illinois University School of Law will continue the conversation with the 2023 Illinois Rural Health Summit: Exploring Gender Health Equity Through Policy, to be held October 10 in Springfield, IL. For the last 5 years, the Rural Health Summit has served as a convening ground which brings together thought leaders from policy, medicine, community, philanthropy and business to explore rural informed solutions to rural health issues. Produced by the Department Population Science and Policy, the 2023 Summit will amplify rural voices at the intersection of research, healthcare and policy in Illinois, working together to make strides towards achieving better gender health equity in Illinois.
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