SPOKANE, Wash. — A two-day conference designed for a wide range of rural health care advocates will be held March 25-26 at the Red Lion Hotel at the Park in downtown Spokane.

Participants include community leaders, administrators, hospital board members, commissioners, providers, policy makers, public health professionals, medical librarians and others.

“Challenged to Respond” is designed to bring together healthcare colleagues around the region and nation to learn more about how communities are addressing issues such as continued workforce shortages, cultural competency in an increasingly diverse world, responding to financial crisis, emergency preparedness and collaborative planning.   

Registration is required to attend, with fees ranging from $95 to $225. For all registration information, contact the Eastern Washington Area Health Education Center, WSU Extension at (509) 358-7640 or (800) 279-0705, e-mail to conference@wsu.edu or visit the Web site at www.ahec.spokane.wsu.edu.

Featured speakers include Kathleen O’Conner, principal of O’Connor Health Care Communication, “The Public Voice: Getting To the Possible”; Roberto Dansie, “The Interplay of Food, Culture and Health” and Marcia Brand, director of Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, addressing federal updates on rural health. 

Featured workshop topics include civic engagement, the value of rural hospitals to their communities, dental shortages, management of mental health and substance abuse, recruitment and retention, tribal diabetes health projects, quality networks, diversity in the workplace, emergency response and others. 

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

The “Regional Critical Access Hospital Conference: Tools for Success” will be from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 24. Registration is required. The cost to attend is $25.

For more information about either conference, call (800) 279.0705, (509) 358.7640 or visit the Web site at www.ahec.spokane.wsu.edu.