Proactivity Key in Rural Health

Posted on July 6, 2010

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At the NRHA Conference this year, keynote speaker Dr. Joycelyn Elders provided a top ten list of rural health concerns:

1)  Access to Quality Care

2) Cancer

3) Diabetes

4) Heart Disease

5) Maternal and Infant Care

6) Mental Health

7) Nutrition (Overweight / Obesity)

8) Oral Health

9) Substance Abuse

10) Tobacco Use

What I found interesting is that all but numbers one, two, five and six could be attributed to lifestyle, and most likely reduced or eliminated with education and preventative health. And, even many forms of cancer (#2) can be linked to lifestyle.

The health plight of rural citizens, however, is not so different from urban and suburban folk when considering it as a function of prevention. No matter how you slice the numbers, preventative care is most every American demographic’s bugaboo.

Prevention is difficult to achieve in the same way a New Year’s resolution to ‘work out’ is:  unless the behavior causes immediate relief from an uncomfortable situation, it is very difficult to affect behavior in most people—even more so when the comfort of routine is considered. Like anything else, it takes personal drive to want to change.

Proactivity, which is a learned action and self-managed through motivation, is a good way to prevent emergencies on personal and professional levels. As an architect, I want to take on the challenge of creating projects that elicit the desire of patients to change, provide hope, and make people not only comfortable in their treatment environment, but willing to come back—even when they ‘feel good’. Proactivity is the goal.

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Posted in: Rural Healthcare