WCU hosts first Rural Health Summit

WCU hosts first Rural Health Summit

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) – Physicians from across Mississippi gathered together with medical school students at William Carey University for a first-ever conference on rural healthcare.

Organizers of the inaugural Rural Health Summit at WCU hope it will improve care in areas such as diabetes and mental health.

The event began Friday night and wrapped up Saturday afternoon.

“Most of our state is rural and the issues we face in rural America (are) different that we’re going to face in urban areas, so it’s important to set the table to have these kinds of conversation,” said Italo Subbarao, dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine at WCU.

The summit featured presentations by various physicians. More than a dozen different presentations and workshops took place during the event.

“Whether I’m learning about healthcare differences, socio-economic status, I think all of those factors play a really big role in healthcare, and that’s what we’ve been learning here during the summit,” Monica Daswani said.

It also included hands-on workshops.

“Conferences like this really expose or highlight the importance of bringing in expertise and sharing it with the rest of the community, so that the population together with the school can actually promote health,” said Stephen Farrow, executive director of the National Diabetes & Obesity Research Institute.

“We really are all pulling in the same direction. It’s not just William Carey or community providers,” said David Buys, state health specialist for the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “It’s really just we’re all in this together,”

Among those who could be benefiting most from the summit are future physicians, like WCU student Andres Saucedo.

“It’s one thing learning about it in the books,” Saucedo said. “It’s another thing to hear it from practitioners (who) are saying, ‘These are the challenges we are facing out in the community.’’”

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