Noteworthy News

School of Nursing hosting rural health symposium in Asheville on April 22

Western Carolina University’s School of Nursing will host a sold-out audience for the second annual Western North Carolina Rural Health Symposium on Friday, April 22, at the Hilton Asheville Biltmore Park.

The symposium is one of the activities supported by a federal workforce diversity grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration that has allowed WCU and Mission Health in Asheville to partner in an effort to increase the quality of nursing care provided to patients in rural WNC. The grant, worth just over $1 million, is for three years and helps WCU offer scholarships, monthly stipends and mentoring to eligible registered nurses with two-year degrees who are working to earn their bachelor’s degrees in nursing.

In just its second year, the symposium is drawing in a full house of 150 people, including a group from as far away as Raleigh.

“The word has really gotten out there,” said the School of Nursing’s Karen Cochran, who directs the grant program at WCU. “I have no idea how the Raleigh group heard about it because we advertise locally. Obviously, people are talking. People are sharing information about this event.”

Last year, the symposium focused on the needs and health care challenges across Western North Carolina. This year’s event will feature programs that are in place to meet those needs and solutions for meeting the needs, Cochran said.

“Different communities might come up with an idea to deal with a particular issue, and this is a forum for sharing those ideas so that folks can go back to their county and maybe start a similar program, or have some ideas on how they can address some of the issues they’re experiencing,” she said.

Among the topics that will be discussed during the symposium are “WNC Rural Communities – the State of Affairs”; “Serving Migrant Farmworkers”; “Strategies and Partnerships to Improve Diabetes”; “Challenges of the Rural Hospital”; “Rural Nursing”; “A Model for Education in Rural Communities”; and “Preparing Providers to Serve Rural Populations.”

For more information about the symposium, contact Cochran at krcochran@wcu.edu.

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