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Tennessee Celebrates the Power of Rural

John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH

The Tennessee Department of Health State Office of Rural Health joins the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health and other state and national stakeholders in celebrating National Rural Health Day Nov. 17, 2016 to draw attention to the wide range of issues impacting the health of rural communities. The theme this year is "Celebrating the Power of Rural."

"This is a very exciting time of both great opportunities and challenges for our vibrant and delightful rural settings and communities across Tennessee," said Tennessee Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. "Growing and accelerating access to digital technology, health, healthcare and transportation innovations are already making rural living more attractive to all types of people with all types of lifestyle, work and health needs who, aided by this important work, can increasingly find them in rural and frontier areas."

In Tennessee, nearly 4.2 million people, more than 63 percent of the state's population, currently live in rural communities. Approximately 62 million people, nearly one in five Americans, live in rural and frontier communities throughout the United States.

"These small towns, farming communities and unincorporated areas are wonderful places to live and work. They are places where neighbors know each other and work together to provide a wealth of products, resources and services," said TDH State Office of Rural Health Director Angie Allen. "The hospitals and health care professionals serving these rural communities can provide not only quality patient care, but also foster the economy and economic development of rural Tennessee."

These communities also face unique healthcare needs. Today rural communities must tackle accessibility issues, a lack of healthcare providers, the needs of an aging population suffering from a greater number of chronic conditions and larger percentages of underinsured citizens.

Tennessee's State Office of Rural Health plays a key role in addressing those needs. The office's mission is to foster relationships, share information and provide technical assistance that improves access to and the quality of health care for Tennessee's rural citizens. All 50 states maintain a State Office of Rural Health. In the past year alone, these offices collectively provided technical assistance to more than 28,000 rural communities across the country.

To learn more about the Tennessee State Office of Rural Health, visit

NOSORH created National Rural Health Day to showcase rural America, increase awareness of rural health-related issues and promote the efforts of NOSORH, state offices of rural health and others in addressing those issues. In Tennessee, the Rural Health Association of Tennessee will observe National Rural Health Day during the Annual 2016 RHAT Conference Nov. 16 - 18 in Pigeon Forge.

Additional information about National Rural Health Day can be found at To learn more about NOSORH, visit


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