Re-Imagining a Healthier Rural America

Practicalities | Policies | Politics

Central Appalachia Rising Bright Spot Stories Documentary

A Healthier WE thoroughly valued our journey throughout Central Appalachia, highlighted by the full day April 19th Appalachia Rising Forum at the Pikeville Overlook Events Center and Hillbilly Days. As promised, we have created a short bright spot stories documentary for your review.

In addition, the conversations and reflections we've had over the last two months with members of the community and beyond, are incorporated into this video.

Please view the collective experience video by clicking on the link below. We would love to partner with you as we work together to bring positive change to this region.

Communities of Healthier Living and Well-Being: Deep Dive Campaign to Make It Happen.

Envisioning a Healthier Rural Future

It's time to hit the reset button on health! The team at #ahealthierwe believe that a new vision of health and health care is at hand for rural America. We now need community advocates, facilitators, and sustainers to make it happen. Join us as we envision a new reality. We invite you to read and share our latest thought piece entitled Envisioning a Healthier Rural Future


A Better Future for Rural Health: Scaling the Action in San Miguel County, New Mexico

A Better Future for Rural Health: Scaling the Action in San Miguel County, New Mexico

AHW is pleased to present our new video: A Better Future for Rural Health: Scaling the Action in San Miguel County, New Mexico. Our goal is to highlight empathetic, data-driven equity success stories that provide a solid foundation for a better rural health future.

This video shows how to scale the action in San Miguel County to ensure the 10 vital services for surviving and thriving and enhancing the health and well-being of this community.

Phil Polakoff, MD, featured guest on the podcast: Speaking of – Making Healthcare Work for You

Our Founder and CEO, Phil Polakoff, MD, was honored to be a recent guest on the podcast Speaking of – Making Healthcare Work for You. During this conversation, he shares his thoughts on health and healthcare, with a focus on rural America, along with how #ahealthierwe is working on solutions to help – using spirit, hope, and energy as a starting point for change.

Watch the podcast here:

Appalachia Rising – Creating healthier Communities from the hills to the hollers

A Healthier WE recently visited Central Appalachia. While there, we held a one-day forum, AppalachiaRising, focused on ideation, collaboration and the promise of bringing positive impact to a rural area that seeks change.  

Watch our short inspirational video that highlights the event and the beauty of the region:

The goal of Appalachia Rising is the formation of the Central Appalachia Revitalization Coalition, which will bring together leaders from across the region to identify and act on initiatives to improve health, education, workforce and economic development, nutrition and ecotourism.

We invite you to join us as we form this Coalition.

Taking Promises to Impact: Definable Actions for a Healthier Rural America

Our nation is ready for a better way to address rural health for one and all. Our focus, starting now, must be listening to and collaborating with rural communities to create and implement rural-centric health-related programs that result in tangible change. A Healthier WE is pleased to share with you our most recent article entitled Taking Promises to Impact: Definable Actions for a Healthier Rural America. This reflective piece lays out a selection of particular ideas of what leaders should envision and then put into practices. We are now asking you to help us actually move this forward. We welcome knowing more about your ideas, your action steps, and most of all your passion to help foster healthier individuals and communities in rural America. Please join us as we take promises to impact.

Communicating Better Health for One and All

Communication isn’t just the act of speaking – it’s about making sure what you are saying is actually being heard. It’s also about understanding it is often a person (or a community), not an organization, which is the lynchpin of an issue or a place in rural America.

Trust plays a key role and is a precious "bottom-up" commodity when creating impact in small communities. It's also the best way influencers, given a compelling story, can amplify that impact.

But trust must be built over time. Join A Healthier WE as we provide a roadmap on how to create better communication, belonging, trust and real impact in rural America.

National Institute for Rural Health Proposal

A Healthier WE is pleased to share our mission-critical, innovative proposal for the creation of the National Institute for Rural Health (NIRH). A letter supporting this bipartisan initiative has been written and signed by Senator Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and was recently presented to President Biden.

Trusted Technology: Helping Create a Rural Health Ecosystem

One and all benefit when pieces come together to create a seamless whole. Technology can help make that happen for rural communities, creating a model where everything works together for people to address their own health. Read our latest paper on Trusted Technology to learn more.

Three Critical Issues: Rx for Success

Rural is a part of our nation that frequently gets labeled negatively. Its problems and solutions are too often siloed. Rural America is seldom thought of in a holistic way. That thinking is what we are trying to address in our team and partnership initiatives. Bipartisan solutions will not come about if rural communities, states, regions and the nation don’t think about all of the geography, the cultures and the relationships found in rural society.

Three Critical Issues: Rx for Success,, addresses significantly identified issues and reasonable policy ideas that can help build a bipartisan action plan…a plan we hope will address rural health and health care challenges.

Progress is possible when rural communities come together and rewrite the narrative from one of unchangeable underservice to one of resilience and renewal. Read three success stories from three very different communities in Nebraska, New Mexico and South Carolina that can help all of us to understand some of the hidden truths of rural areas in the United States.

Rural American Renaissance…Make It Real!

Listen carefully, and you can hear the new rural voices and a new rural message. It is a message of hope, a refocus on values, and a declaration of how rural America can and will not only survive but lead in the new world. We believe that we hear the voice of a Rural Renaissance, and we are here to ask the nation to make this renaissance succeed.

Healthier Rural America: Call to a Strategic Action Plan The nation has paid little attention and shown little support to the rural and remote regions of our nation. But given recent events, opportunities are surfacing to effectively support rural and remote communities.
A Healthier WE (a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization) collaborated with rural health leaders and created A Healthier Rural America: Call to a Strategic Action Plan. This plan outlines nine key initiatives that identify solutions to help create a healthier rural America.

Re-Imagining A Healthier Rural America: The Five F’s Addressed by the Five P’s

Read our recent op-ed that appeared on Thrive Global focusing on Re-Imagining a Healthier Rural America: The 5 F's Addressed by the 5 P's. Please feel free to share it with your friends and colleagues. We also welcome your feedback.

Commonwealth Club: A Healthy Society Series: Healthier Rural America --Toward A Better Future

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. World Health Organization (1948)
In these times, if “I” is replaced with “WE”, even illness becomes wellness.” We can only work towards a healthier rural America together. Phil Polakoff, MD, Founder/CEO A Healthier WE, Consulting Professor Stanford University School of Medicine

The Healthier Rural West Summit was held on March 19-21, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah

The Summit, produced by A Healthier WE (not-for-profit organization), addressed many key challenges currently facing rural America by offering an inspiring vision of rural cooperation and leadership in the emerging information and health economies. This unique and highly interactive and participative Summit drew over 400 stakeholders from across the rural health ecosystem. Over the course of two days, participants listened to inspiring talks, and participated in thought-provoking sessions aimed at re-inventing well-being in rural America.
Even sessions I didn't think would be relevant to me, truly were. It opened my eyes to thinking about connections and partnerships more broadly. Past Summit Attendee
I enjoyed the focus on action. I attend a lot of more academic meetings/conferences, and it was refreshing to have a continuous focus on how we could use the new information to create solutions. Past Summit Attendee
I liked the diversity of people working on solutions from radically different perspectives. Past Summit Attendee

Healthier Rural America’s Core Objectives are:

1. Assemble civic, faith, healthcare and citizen leadership at the community, county, state, regional and federal level to address current rural health’s critical issues from a 360-degree perspective 2. Present, in an engaging manner, proven best practices and lessons learned in transforming health needs to well-being in rural communities 3. Provide experiential learning by using a collaborative approach, allowing for conceptualization and visualization to show how best practices can work in their community 4. Define next steps needed for leaders to achieve their health transformation objectives 5. Highlight a number of positive impact rural health success stories throughout America

One of the most critical and underreported health crises in the United States today is individual and community health and well-being in rural American. Rural health care is deficient everywhere in the United States, where considerations of distance, lack of sufficient number of qualified health providers, culture, economic status, education, and environment pose special challenges. But poorly nuanced policy, underfunded public health, rising healthcare costs, and disparities in access to care are exacerbating poor health outcomes in rural areas. Increasing poverty, an aging population, antiquated educational approaches, and a rapidly changing environment now pose imminent challenges to the health and wellness in rural America and beyond.

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