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Lugar Center Advocating in Nation's Capital

Dr. Jim Turner, Dan Hardesty, and Hicham Rahmouni had an opportunity to advocate for rural health and for our community during a recent visit to Washington, DC. The visit took place in conjunction with the National Rural Health Association’s Rural Policy Institute.

During meetings with Senator Todd Young and Senator Mike Braun, the Lugar Center emphasized the importance of preserving access for rural communities as:

  • Rural hospitals are closing resulting in a loss of emergency care. Since 2010, 95 rural hospitals have closed and nearly 700 are still vulnerable. 46% now operate at a loss (up from 40% just 2 years ago). When a rural hospital can stay open, it is often the first or second largest employer in a rural area.

  • Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) providing primary care services are closing. Since 2012, 388 RHCs have closed, impacting 3.86 million rural Americans access to primary care.

  • The rural health care workforce is dwindling and impacting access to care. Health care job creation is not happening in rural areas but is a huge part of national job growth. While there are surpluses of medical professionals in other areas, rural areas face devastating shortages.

It was an opportunity to share the Center’s outcomes and success stories on developing the rural workforce to help overcome the uneven distribution and shortages of health care professionals as illustrated by the following infographic.

Dr. Turner, Dan, Dylan, and Hicham had the honor of visiting with both Senator Lugar and Dr. Jerome Adams (US Surgeon General) during this trip.

The Lugar Center team was joined by Dylan Rupska, a 3rd year rural medical student and product of the rural pipeline. Dylan is from Linton, Indiana. After graduating as a Rural Health Scholar from Indiana State University, Dylan joined the graduating class of 2020 at Indiana University School of Medicine where he was accepted into the Rural Medicine Education Program. He is currently serving as the Terre Haute campus class representative for the IUSM Medical Student Counsel. Dylan hopes to pursue a career in both Emergency Medicine and healthcare policy and advocacy. When asked about his views on healthcare in a small community, Dylan commented,

"The role of a physician is much broader than that of a healthcare provider. They are also the leaders, the community organizers, and the advocates that truly have the capacity to bring about meaningful change. As such, it is my duty as a future physician to learn all I can so that I may serve and give back to my community in the best possible way."

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