2007 Conference

2007 Annual Oregon Rural Health Conference

Set No Limits: Innovation, Creativity and Leadership

This year's theme — Set No Limits: Innovation, Creativity and Leadership — sets the stage for a conference filled with creative ideas to meet the demands of providing health care in rural Oregon.

The Annual Oregon Rural Health Conference (ORHC) is the largest gathering in Oregon dedicated Oregon Rural Health Association (ORHA), Oregon Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) and the Oregon Rural Practice-based Research Network (ORPRN), the Oregon Office of Rural Health (ORH) strives to bring you the most innovative approaches to addressing today's needs.

You will notice two changes in the conference this year — new date, new location. Finding a date and time that can accommodate the many people who want to attend the conference can be a challenge. A number of conference attendees have expressed concern about the late fall timing of past conferences and its conflict with a rural tradition — hunting season. To accommodate hunting season, ORH moved the conference this year to September 13-15th.

The second big change is the location. The conference rotates among the coast, the valley and east of the mountains. This year's conference was held at the Salem Conference Center in downtown Salem.

We are also excited about the line up of topics and speakers this year! There is never a lack of important issues that confront rural health care providers. With the help of an outstanding planning committee, we think we have a great program scheduled!

This year, an honored national guest speaker will be a participant in the entire conference. Hilda Heady is Executive Director of West Virginia Rural Health Education Partnerships (WVRHEP) and Vice President for Rural Health at the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center of West Virginia University. She is also a former President of the Board of Trustees of the National Rural Health Association. Ms. Heady is known as a tireless worker on behalf of rural communities across her state.

WVRHEP has been nationally recognized as a model partnership between communities, higher educational institutions and government agencies by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Journal of Rural Health.

The Partnership's outcomes are impressive: From 1999 to 2004, the number of rural physicians increased by 88 percent from 88 to 165. In 2002, WV health professional students participated in community service activities involving more than 158,000 rural residents. Health professional students have opportunities to serve and learn in 28 community health centers, 30 small rural hospitals, 25 dental offices, 37 pharmacies, 13 county health departments, 20 physical therapy agencies or rehabilitation centers in under served areas, and 16 county boards of education. Nearly 700 rural field faculty members are involved in health professional education.

There will be a day of pre-conference meetings on Thursday centered on Critical Access Hospitals, Oregon Rural Health Quality Network, statewide AHEC meeting, FLEX Advisory, Rural Health Clinic Workshop, ORPRN steering committee meeting and the Oregon Rural Health Association Board Meeting.

Friday is packed with informative sessions. The day begins with the Oregon Rural Health Association Annual membership meeting, followed by a welcome from Dr. Joe Robertson, President, OHSU. Back by popular demand, Scott Ekblad, Director, Office of Rural Health, Dr. Lisa Dodson, Director, AHEC, Dr. Bruce Carlson, ORHA, and Dr. L. J. Fagnan, Director, ORPRN will introduce you to their organizations and the work of each.

Other sessions include: Pay for Performance — with the federal government moving quickly to implement a pay for performance program for providers, it is essential that rural providers be prepared; Quality — key to offering successful health care services! Quality is a buzz word that people use to judge the providers they are searching for and the care they receive; Mental Health — always a challenge in Oregon and more so in rural areas; Dental Health — more and more, we are learning the importance of oral health in kids and adults; Recruitment & Retention — a challenge for clinics and hospitals. How do we attract the right providers to our communities? And Partnerships for Health — learn how partnerships can help make communities healthier.

During this legislative session, health care reform has been high on everyone's list. Come hear from legislators what happened during the 2007 Legislative Session and what will be addressed during the February 2008 session. It is vital that rural Oregon be part of that reform process.