Rural Health Summit

Leaders say there are disparities nationwide when it comes to health accessibility in under-served areas. For example, one rural person in 11 has never seen a dentist.

Secretary of the Florida Department of Health, John Agwonobi, was one of several leaders speaking at FSU's rural health summit.

Although 20 percent of U.S. citizens live in rural areas, they only have nine percent of the nation's physicians. Changing that stat is the main mission of FSU's College of Medicine.

“Our center is committed to working with rural communities to see how to address issues that every citizen faces,” says Art Clausen, FSU Director of Health Affairs.

Meanwhile, leaders at Perry's new hospital say they've found a remedy for limited accessibility.

“We have a community that stepped up and voted for one cent sales tax and now we have a state of the art hospital. Perhaps we are an example of what communities need to do in their community,” says Jim McKnight, CEO of Doctors Memorial Hospital.

On the national level, rural health advocates say one of the biggest challenges is getting rural community to speak up.

“I think our rural people are not as politically active as their counterparts. They don't have a voice, it's not a major health lobby,” says Stephen Wilhide of the National Rural Health Association.

The National Rural Health Association has started a grass roots effort to help rural communities voice their concerns.