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December 2010

West Virginia

AgrAbility was on display again at this year’s Annual Rural Health Conference, held at the Glade Spring Resort in late October. AgrAbility received positive feedback and numerous inquiries from healthcare providers, especially medical doctors. Staff was delighted to hear that one of the conference’s speakers, a doctor from Boston, made many references to AgrAbility throughout his session. Like many healthcare providers, this doctor was particularly concerned with his patients’ dignity and quality of life. When introduced to AgrAbility, he understood it as a solution to this problem, particularly patients who are farmers. Staff often gets so busy with the tangible aspects of the program that AgrAbility’s higher purpose is not always explicitly visible. His support reminded many healthcare providers that, despite surgeries and treatment plans, everyone plays a part in helping patients build a bridge between their medical realities and their lifestyle choices.

The purpose of the Rural Health Conference is to offer education, information, and networking opportunities to healthcare providers, policymakers, communities, and students of healthcare fields. This year, the conference focused on health disparities, substance abuse, obesity and nutrition, and minority health. Health disparity in terms of an individual’s overall health status and income was a hot topic and common point of conversation. This issue was also the primary topic in two keynote addresses.

This conference reminded all agencies and healthcare providers present that medical care is not just for the physical ailments of the patient, but must also consider the patients’ intangibles, such as a patient’s dignity.

Submitted by Mary Slabinski