Picture (from left):Randy Sparks (husband of current NRHA President); Sandra Durick, NRHA treasurer and administrator for the Office of Rural Health at the South Dakota Department of Health; Dean Craig Blakely, Kris Sparks, NRHA president and manager, Washington Department of Health, Office of Community and Rural Health; Amy Elizondo, NRHA vice president of program services (and School of Rural Public Health alum); Alan Morgan, NRHA CEO

The Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) School of Rural Public Health was actively involved in this year’s annual conference of the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) meeting, May 2-6 in Austin. Dean Craig Blakely, Ph.D., M.P.H., spoke at the opening event in welcoming the more than 900 attendees to Texas.

“With our school-wide attention on rural health disparities and policies, the School of Rural Public Health at Texas A&M was pleased to participate in the scholarly discussions related to the impact of the evolving national health care legislation on rural Americans and their providers,” Dean Blakely states. “NRHA, by visiting Austin, provided a wonderful opportunity for a large contingent of our students to both attend as registrants and assist with the operations of a national conference.”

Two highlights of the research posters and presentations presented by faculty and staff at the conference included “Accountable Care Organizations in the Rural Setting,” presented by assistant professor Thomas Miller, Ph.D., and “Rural Healthy People 2020: New Rural Health Priorities and Strategies identified through the National RHP 2020 Survey,” by associate professor Jane Bolin, B.S.N., J.D., Ph.D. Dr. Bolin serves as director of school’s Southwest Rural Health Research Center.

Graduate students of the school helped run breakout sessions during the three-and-a-half-day conference.


— Rae Lynn Mitchell