Highlights and resources from the national rural health association conference, may 16-18, 2023

The Foundation for Women’s Cancer (FWC) recently participated in the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) Annual Conference in San Diego, California. The conference brought together key stakeholders across industries that are serving and learning from residents of rural communities. Some key highlights, including resources from participating organizations with service lines to rural-residing gynecologic cancer patients and their care networks, are below.

Conference Sessions on Rural Health Priorities: Various sessions focused on addressing rural patient challenges and challenges faced by rural hospitals in providing comprehensive care. Transportation struggles, limited access to medications, and multigenerational poverty were identified as significant patient barriers. However, per the conference sessions, rural hospitals, clinics and associated community services have the potential to provide nimble decision-making, family-oriented care, and greater adherence to patient medication regimens, emphasizing the importance of their sustainability.

Foundation For Women's Cancer Literature

The conference also highlighted key priorities for rural health programs to reduce disparities, expand workforce partnerships, and enhance community health services. Proposed federal budget initiatives for 2024, such as a rural service lines pilot and access to quality insurance coverage, demonstrate a commitment to improving healthcare access for rural communities.

Exhibitor Engagement: The FWC engaged with several fellow exhibitors at the conference who showcased valuable resources and collaboration opportunities.

– The Rural Health Information Hub (RHIH) provides tailored information for patients and healthcare providers living in rural communities. RHIH offers the “Cancer Prevention and Treatment in Rural Communities Guide,” which serves as a comprehensive resource for understanding and navigating cancer care in rural areas.

– The Rural Tele-Mentoring Training Center connects primary practice providers in rural areas with specialists to enhance their knowledge and skills in addressing specific patient needs. This relatively newly-funded approach ensures that patients in rural communities receive the best possible care, bridging the gap between primary and specialized healthcare services.

– The PAN Foundation offers patient financial assistance, aiming to alleviate financial burdens and improve overall well-being among patients in greatest need.

The Foundation for Women’s Cancer’s involvement in the National Rural Health Association conference

Conference Participant Engagement: The FWC actively engaged with conference participants, facilitating 25 person-to-person conversations about available gynecologic cancer resources. Personal experiences with gynecologic cancers were shared by several participants, including stories from current cancer patients, cancer survivors, and family caregivers. All emphasized the importance of community engagement and support.

The Foundation for Women’s Cancer’s involvement in the National Rural Health Association conference was instrumental in identifying resources, partnerships, and initiatives to support patients, family caregivers, and survivors of gynecologic cancers in rural areas. By fostering collaborations, disseminating information, and advocating for comprehensive cancer care, the FWC will continue to serve the gynecologic cancer community.