The health of Arkansans should not be determined by where they live.
Unfortunately, the well-being of more than 1.1 million of our citizens are at greater risk simply because they live in smaller communities that are remote from larger population centers. People living in rural communities tend to have less access to high quality, affordable health care services. Barriers include lack of transportation, income, insurance, or availability of local providers or facilities. Rural residents tend to be older, poorer, and suffer from a broad range of health disparities, compared with city-dwellers. Rural health stakeholders include many groups and interests, including hospitals, clinics, multi-disciplinary providers, educational & workforce institutions, business & industry, transportation, governmental leaders, funders, insurers, safety-net programs, and a diverse range of consumers, to name a few.
The purpose for the Rural Health Association of Arkansas (RHAA) is to create a neutral, coordinating, and unifying entity and voice of advocacy for improved health and health care access for ALL rural Arkansans. Our goal is not to replace or duplicate any existing efforts, but to support and complement such organizations. We hope to be an effective network of bridge builders, with an accessible and functional infrastructure, to provide a venue for the broadest range of rural health advocates to voice and navigate concerns, to help consolidate and amplify their messages, and to pursue mutually beneficial solutions. We seek to inspire healthier rural communities across Arkansas, through better communication, collaboration, education, advocacy and improved access to information, resources, best practices, and policies.
What began years ago as a small informal network of like-minded rural advocates has now expanded to a broad-based statewide coalition that is ready to launch a formal association through which ALL rural health stakeholders from every corner of Arkansas can have a seat at the table and coalesce into a united voice to promote a more accessible and equitable system of health care for Arkansans who happen to live in the more rural areas of our beautiful state. We are excited to link arms with other interested parties to create a healthier future for all Arkansans.