Iowa Joins National Rural Health Day Recognition

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 14th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad Wednesday, signed a proclamation designating Thursday, November 15th, as Rural Health Day 2012.

Pat Markham, CEO and Emily Krengel, Food Service Director, of Cass County Memorial Hospital, were part of a group of rural health representatives who gathered in the Iowa Governor’s office to sign a National Rural Health proclamation.

National Rural Health Day is an opportunity to honor small towns, farming communities and rural areas, and also to highlight the unique challenges the individuals who live in these areas face. In Iowa, 90 percent of the land mass is considered rural, and approximately half of Iowans live in an area that is considered rural.

Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director, Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks says “Iowa’s rural communities are wonderful places to live and work – they are places where people know each other, listen to and respect each other, and work together to benefit the community. However, rural communities face a lack of healthcare providers, an aging population with a greater number of chronic conditions, and larger percentages of uninsured or underinsured residents.” Meeks says “It’s important that private and public partnerships continue to tackle these issues while meeting the unique needs of these areas.”

About 21 percent of Americans live in rural areas, but only about 10 percent of all physicians and 11 percent of all pharmacists practice in rural areas. The Iowa rural health workforce reflects much of the national trend; however, in Iowa there are 19.5 physicians per 10,000 persons compared to 25.7 per 10,000 in the U.S.

To get more information on National Rural Health Day, visit