Lee Mobley offered interesting remarks on geographic sampling, particularly the need for geographically based samples and geographic contiguity. While I'm not sure I'm 100% in agreement with all of her conclusions, her presentation was truly thought provoking, which is about the highest accolade one can offer. There were also excellent presentations on health disparities, long term care, and multiple other sessions attended by our SCRHRC staff.
But: Rural is *seriously* under-represented at an association that bills itself as a premier health policy and research group. One excellent presentation deal with reimbursement at skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). The investigator, when asked after the presentation, was unaware that SNFs could be located within rural hospitals. Similarly, one of our posters addressed Board issues at critical access hospitals. When asked, only one person who stopped to glance at the poster knew what a critical access hospital is. I continued the experiment at a breakfast session on HSR, where I was seated at the policy table. No one around the table, which included representatives of two funders in addition to folks from major, urban universities, knew what a critical access hospital was, either.
"Yikes" is sort of an understatement about this. Right now, the existence of rural-specific health issues and policies seems to fall in the "don't know that we don't know" quadrant for AcademyHealth. Those of us concerned about rural communities should begin a campaign to establish a "rural" interest group.