South Carolina Office of Rural Health celebrates National Rural Health Day

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FILE – A vaccine clinic is held at the Yemassee Community Center in April 2021. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control organized a series of clinics across the state targeting rural areas. (WSAV)

BLUFFTON, S.C. (WSAV) – The South Carolina Office of Rural Health is celebrating the 11th annual National Rural Health Day. National Rural Health Day was recognized by a presidential proclamation Wednesday for the first time on Wednesday.

“Today, we recognize and honor all the resiliency, resolve, readiness and relationships that make our rural communities stronger and healthier,” the office said in a tweet.

The office also announced their South Carolina Community Star for 2021 as Kathy Schwarting, the CEO of Palmetto Care Connections.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly one in five Americans live in a rural area. In South Carolina, that number is closer to 34% of residents.

With rurality comes a unique relationship to public health. Recognizing this relationship is one step in helping rural communities address public health concerns that they face.

Some of the health challenges that rural communities face include a lack of health care providers, an aging population and underinsured or uninsured residents. By 2025, the federal government projects there will be a shortage of over 20,000 primary care physicians in rural areas.

“National Rural Health Day is an opportunity is an opportunity to highlight our agency’s effort to reduce health disparities in rural communities,” said Diana Espinosa, the Acting Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration at a webinar Wednesday.

The goal of National Rural Health Day is to not only bring awareness to the health challenges rural residents face but to also raise awareness of the strength of rural communities.

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