Friday, May 29, 2009

More baby news

Congrats to SCRHRC staffer Jeff Hatala & wife Annie on the birth of Kevin Baxter ("Bax") Hatala.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Vehicle safety

  While running this morning, I was passed by a pickup with 2 kids, estimated age less than 8 years, riding excitedly in the open back.  Context:  this is a 2-lane country road with a nominal speed limit of 45 mph, on which most folks do 55.  I was appalled and instantly wanted to call child protective services.
   Mind you, the person who wants to call child services distinctly remembers riding with the kids next door on trips to the farm cooperative to deliver eggs.  We rode after the egg cartons, which were stacked right behind the driver, on the open back of a flat-bed truck. On a 4-lane divided highway.
   Farm times change -- thankfully.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Baby shower!

It's hard to be a guy in a mostly-girl Center.  Center
folks threw a baby shower for 
fellow staffer Jeff Hatala, who is 
expecting his second child May 28 
(second c-section, so planned date).  
Note Jeff's expression on
entering the conference room. 

The presence of at least some other guys helped 
(James Hardin, at left in photo). But girl power was 
everywhere (Minnjuan Flournoy, Jeff, Jessica).
And while we're on the subject of babies, 
congrats to Graham Adams of the SC Office of 
Rural Health
on the birth of Lauren!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Rural Health in Miami?

   The SCRHRC was at the annual NRHA meeting in glamourous, non-rural Miami, among narcolords (presumably) and TV stars (confirmed sightings).   Lots of hard work, with presentations by several SC RHRC staffers  In the photos , Jessica presenting on part of her dissertation research, along with Kevin and Graham Adams (RUN chair) discussing some innovative EHR network activity in South Carolina.
   SCRHRC alumni were present, as well, including former Director and current Expert Work Group member Mike Samuels, and former staffer Andy Johnson.

   Not all was hard work, though.  Note Jessica illustrating the absolute hell that constitutes being a postdoc for Jan & Amy, while Dr. Martin experiments with buoyancy devices in one of the Fountainbleu pools.    

SCORH at Hilton Head

The SCRHRC sent Jessica & Jan to the annual meeting of the South Carolina Office of Rural Health. Jessica presented part of her dissertation work, looking into perceived racism and distrust of the healthcare system. Amy could not attend, but was represented by posters created by students in her rural health course.  
   As would be anticipated given the times, many of the s
essions (and most of the plena
ries) dealt with financial issues, such as stimulus money flows and the outlook for South Carolina Medicaid.  But there were lighter moments, including a barbeque dinner at Honey Horn plantation.  The photo at right shows a bottle tree, a tradition brought over from Africa.  The light shining through the bottles attracts evil spirits, who are then captured in the bottle.  The picture of gnarled trees draped with Spanish moss has no historical significance; it's just pretty.  Ditto the picture of Carolina coastal marsh at sunset.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Discussing Frontier

   The SCRHRC (Jan) was in Albuquerque on Friday, April 24, for the first in a series of three public discussions of how "frontier" should be defined.  In attendance were several impassioned advocates for frontier interests, with a smattering of academics (us).  Gary Hart, guru of RUCAs and other rural measures, chaired the meeting.
   The most interesting comment was offered by Denise Denton, former NRHA president.  She noted that many on the advocacy side of the discussion were arguing from the assumption that an inclusive definition of frontier was a good thing under all circumstances.  Denise offered a thought experiment:  would you want an inclusive definition if, for example, regulations were passed that required all Federal prisons to be located in frontier counties?
   Potential consensus on a definition structure, first voiced by Denise and more fully expressed by Tom Morris, ORHP administrator, seemed to focus on a "frontier and..." concept.  "Frontier" could be defined geographically.  Eligibility for USDA and ORHP programs, a concern of many present, could be addressed by the "and":  "...and high unemployment" for economic development, or "...and 75 miles from a hospital."  The "frontier and..." or even "rural and..." structure could allow for communities with particular problems to have those problems considered, without conflating geographic and programmatic considerations.
   All in all, a challenging task!  Gary & John Cromartie (USDA) will really be working hard over the next year.