SPOKANE, Wash. — A two-day conference designed for a wide range of rural health care advocates including community leaders, administrators, hospital board members, commissioners, providers, policy makers, public health professionals, medical librarians and others will be held March 27-28 at the Red Lion Hotel at the Park (formerly the WestCoast Grand Hotel at the Park) in downtown Spokane.

“Partnerships for the Future: Building healthy, culturally diverse, economically viable rural communities” is designed to highlight the connection between rural economic development, rural healthcare services and cultural diversity. There are two pre-conference workshops planned for March 26, both held at the hotel. The “Regional Critical Access Hospital Conference: Learning from Each Other,” will take place 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Registration is required to attend, there is no fee. The second workshop, “Our Future Workforce: Engaging High School Students,” will be held 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Registration is required and there is a $35 fee to attend.

Registration is required for the two-day conference. The registration fees range from $95-225. For all registration information, contact the Area Health Education Center Washington State University Spokane at (509) 358-7640, (800) 279-0705 or conference@wsu.edu.

Featured topics include Critical Access Hospitals, Nursing Shortage Issues, Cultural
Diversity, TeleHealth in Rural Areas, and Community Development.

Chuck Fluharty, director, Rural Policy Research Institute, will be the opening keynote speaker. Carmen Tafolla, Ph.D., will present a program called “With our Very Own Names,” which is a medley of voices from the multicultural and multilingual world. The closing keynote speaker, Dr. Wayne Myers, is president of the National Rural Health Association. Professional development contact hours are available.

The conference is presented by the Washington Rural Health Association and the Washington statewide Office of Rural Health, including the Area Health Education Center, Washington State University Spokane, Office of Community and Rural Health, Washington State Department of Health, University of Washington School of Medicine, Washington State University and Western Washington Area Health Education Center.