Dartmouth Health joins nationwide observance of National Rural Health Day

National Rural Health Day logo

We are proud to honor the dedication and hard work of health professionals and volunteers in our community on National Rural Health Day and throughout the year.

Joanne M. Conroy, MD

Dartmouth Health is proud to join communities across the United States in celebration of National Rural Health Day, which is observed on November 16, 2023. The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) and rural-focused organizations throughout the country designated the third Thursday of November a day to recognize and honor the individuals and organizations dedicated to addressing the unique healthcare needs of nearly 61 million people living in rural America.

Dartmouth Health is the most rural academic health system in the U.S., serving a population of 1.9 million in northern New England.

“Rural healthcare providers across the country are among the most important resources available to citizens, serving nearly 20% of the country’s population while covering about 86% of its land area, and they’re stepping up to meet the greater needs of disadvantaged populations, compared to urban areas,” said Joanne M. Conroy, MD, CEO and president of Dartmouth Health and chair-elect of the American Hospital Association. “We are proud to honor the dedication and hard work of health professionals and volunteers in our community on National Rural Health Day and throughout the year.”

Last year, Dartmouth Health facilitated the creation of the Center for Advancing Rural Health Equity, a collaboration of several healthcare providers in northern New Hampshire and Vermont, with the goal of ensuring everyone living in rural communities has the chance to thrive, feel safe, be welcomed and have a chance to live healthy lives. And earlier this spring, Conroy and her CEO counterparts at MaineHealth and the University of Vermont Health Network, convened a public roundtable to sound the alarm on the mounting challenges in rural healthcare. Conroy will also discuss these issues with former Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Donald M. Berwick, MD, MPP, which will premiere November 16 at 12 pm on the Dartmouth Health YouTube channel.

Joseph L. Perras, MD, president and CEO of Cheshire Medical Center, a Dartmouth Health member hospital, is the chair of the American Hospital Association’s Rural Health Services Committee.

“Dartmouth Health is committed to being a leader and a resource to healthcare providers in our region, and to advocate for rural health providers that are facing an unprecedented crisis,” Perras said. “The economic challenges felt across the industry, such as a significant healthcare labor shortage, the high cost of contract labor, delayed hospital discharges due to staffing shortages at post-acute care facilities, a rising demand for services and a growing ledger of uncompensated care, are exacerbated in rural settings.”

About 70% of regions designated Health Professional Shortage Areas are located in rural and frontier communities in the U.S. states and territories, according to the Health Resource & Services Administration.

Launched in 2011, NOSORH developed National Rural Health Day to formally recognize those whose work and contributions make a positive impact on the vast and varied healthcare needs of people living in the most rural parts of the country, while raising awareness of the “Power of Rural.”

There are currently about 1,300 critical access hospitals and about 900 other hospitals that support the acute care landscape of rural communities in the U.S. Meanwhile, more than 5,200 rural health clinics and over 4,600 rural health centers or similar facilities provide the backbone of primary care infrastructure in rural America. 

Additional information about National Rural Health Day, including resources and tools, can be found at PowerofRural.org.

About Dartmouth Health

Dartmouth Health, New Hampshire's only academic health system and the state's largest private employer, serves patients across northern New England. Dartmouth Health provides access to more than 2,000 providers in almost every area of medicine, delivering care at its flagship hospital, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) in Lebanon, NH, as well as across its wide network of hospitals, clinics and care facilities. DHMC is consistently named the #1 hospital in New Hampshire by U.S. News & World Report, and recognized for high performance in numerous clinical specialties and procedures. Dartmouth Health includes Dartmouth Cancer Center, one of only 56 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the nation, and the only such center in northern New England; Dartmouth Health Children’s, which includes Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, the state’s only children’s hospital, and multiple clinic locations around the region; member hospitals in Lebanon, Keene and New London, NH, and Bennington and Windsor, VT; Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire; and more than 24 clinics that provide ambulatory services across New Hampshire and Vermont. Through its historical partnership with Dartmouth and the Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth Health trains nearly 400 medical residents and fellows annually, and performs cutting-edge research and clinical trials recognized across the globe with Geisel and the White River Junction VA Medical Center in White River Junction, VT. Dartmouth Health and its more than 13,000 employees are deeply committed to serving the healthcare needs of everyone in our communities, and to providing each of our patients with exceptional, personal care.