Happy National Rural Health Day from the Minnesota Rural Health Conference!

COVID-19 has changed how we meet, learn, and exchange information. As the pandemic spread, the Minnesota Rural Health Conference (MNRHC) hosts reluctantly made the decision to cancel our annual conference. Our theme for 2020, Charting the Course for Change, was an appropriate reminder that we all need to explore virtual ways of meeting and exchanging information.

The annual National Rural Health Day celebration is a perfect opportunity to share information! During the third week of November, we will release three podcasts starting with an introduction to the series on Monday, November 16th and ending on Thursday, November 19th. The three podcasts will cover rural health issues and how the pandemic has affected us in Minnesota. #PowerOfRural

This series was developed by the Minnesota Rural Health Conference hosts – the Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) Office of Rural Health and Primary Care (ORHPC), the National Rural Health Resource Center, and the Minnesota Rural Health Association (MRHA).

Podcast Episodes

Trailer (5 min)

Release Date: November 16, 2020

Learn about the podcast series, guest speakers, and a special announcement about the 2021 MNRHC!

Rural Health IS a Health Equity Issue (30 min)

Release Date: November 17, 2020

Podcast Guest: Jan Malcolm, Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Health

Podcast Host: Zora Radosevich, Director, Minnesota Department of Health - Office of Rural Health & Primary Care

The ORHPC's Director will have a discussion with the Commissioner about why rural health issues deserve special attention, how the Minnesota Department of Health supports health care professionals in rural areas, and what some of the important issues are in addressing the pandemic and its impact on rural MN.

Impact of COVID-19 in Minnesota (30 min)

Release Date: November 18, 2020

Podcast Guest: Dr. Nicholas Lehnertz, Medical Specialist 2, Division of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention and Control, Minnesota Department of Health

Podcast Host: Mark Jones, Director, Minnesota Rural Health Association (MRHA)

Dr. Lehnertz discusses the impact of COVID-19 in Minnesota, specifically in rural areas. Hear the most up-to-date data concerning cases, deaths, testing, race-related disparities, and new findings. Learn best practices for staying safe this winter and through the holidays as well as advice to prepare rural hospitals for the next 6-12 months.

The Effect of COVID on Minnesota's Healthcare Workforce (30 min)

Release Date: November 19, 2020

Podcast Guest: Teri Fritsma, Senior Research Analyst, Minnesota Department of Health - Office of Rural Health & Primary Care

Podcast Host: Nitika Moibi, Health Workforce Analysis Supervisor, Minnesota Department of Health - Office of Rural Health & Primary Care

Nitika Moibi and Teri Fritsma will discuss the rapid transformation that COVID has brought to the health care workforce in Minnesota - reduced hours, layoffs, and even rural retirements in certain sectors of health care. On the other hand, COVID has also caused the swift expansion of telemedicine—a likely permanent change that could improve Minnesotans’ access to care now and well into the future. Hear what health care providers say are their greatest concerns during this period.

Following Accessibility Standards 

All podcasts are also available on YouTube and include closed captioning which allows people to read spoken dialogue, as well as non-speech information, like music or sound effects.