Health conference slated for March 23-24 in Spokane

More than 250 health care professionals will attend the Northwest Regional Rural Health Conference March 23-24 at the Red Lion Hotel at the Park in Spokane.

Celebrating its 19th year, the conference draws attendees from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska, and is the Northwest’s largest conference on rural health. It is presented in part by the Eastern Washington Area Health Education Center WSU Extension.

“For almost two decades, the Northwest Regional Rural Health Conference has brought the latest and best information about rural health care in the form of speakers and workshops to attendees,” said Charlotte Hardt, conference chair. “But the greatest value is what happens in the halls, over meals and during breaks. The exchange of information, ideas, and problem solutions between colleagues, educators, regulators and board members – the ‘networking’ – is always rated high.”

This year’s conference theme is “Dare to Prepare” and is designed to focus on opportunities to highlight new programs and new ways of doing business, to discuss collaborative relationships in rural communities, and to reflect how the rural healthcare system fits into the processes of creating change in communities.

Keynote topics and speakers include:

· “Where Rurals Dare,” Bill Sexton, chief executive, Providence Seaside Hospital and President of the National Rural Health Association

· “The Gift and the Challenge of Dealing with Differences,” Margarita Suarez, executive director, Avanta The Virginia Satir Network

· “Bird Flu – The Coming Pandemic?,” Maxine Hayes, state health officer, Washington State Department of Health
· “Iowa Great Places: Revitalizing Communities with Sense of Place,” Anita Walker, director, Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs

The NW Regional Rural Health Conference focuses on current policy and regulatory developments at the federal, regional, state and local levels that impact healthcare delivery. It is designed to be of interest to a wide range of rural health advocates including providers, community leaders, administrators, board members, commissioners, policy makers, public health professionals, and others.

Registration is required to attend the two-day conference and preferred by March 10. Fees range from $120-$240. For registration information or to download a copy of the conference brochure, go to or contact the Eastern Washington Area Health Education Center, WSU Extension at (509) 358-7640, 800-279-0705 or

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 Western Washington Area Health Education Center.

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