On May 20th, KBIA held a community conversation event in Kennett, Mo. The goal was to bring local residents and leaders of rural southeast Missouri to the same table to discuss difficulties in access to health care, the struggling rural economy and how to fix it. It's an event we called Health Barriers: Symptoms of a Rural Economy.
About 25 people joined us at the First Presbyterian Church in Kennett for a barbecue dinner and a panel discussion hosted by KBIA News Director Ryan Famuliner.
On the panel were Kim Hughes, Director of Nursing at the Dunklin County Health Department; Judith Haggard, nurse practitioner at SEMO Health Network; and Victor Wilburn, PhD, from Southeast Missouri State University.
Kim Hughes on changing how the community thinks of health care:
"A lot of times people seek help when they're sick...[it's] kind of hard to change the knowledge, attitude and skills of people."
Dr. Victor Wilburn on the barriers poverty creates for health care access:
"Quality health care is preventive, and preventive is long-term thinking." But, "if I am struggling, if resources are scarce, then I'm really not thinking about long term."
Judith Haggard on the importance of educating the community:
"The more education we can get out there about what's going on in our community, the more people can buy into that."