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Men's Health Grant Report

In 2021, Rural Health Association of Tennessee (RHA) received a contact from Tennessee Department of Health (TDH), Office of Minority Health, via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HRSA).

The service goal of this contract was to improve the health of people in rural Tennessee by providing activities for COVID-19 advocacy, communication, and health education. As part of the strategy to provide accurate education regarding COVID-19, vaccinations, and overall population health improvement, RHA contracted with the Men’s Health Network of Tennessee (MHN) to develop and disseminate a Certified Men’s Health Educator training.

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Public Health Awareness Month


Public Health Awareness Month holds particular significance for rural areas, where access to healthcare services and health education can be limited. In rural communities, residents often face unique challenges such as geographic isolation, limited healthcare infrastructure, and socioeconomic disparities, which can contribute to poorer health outcomes. Public Health Awareness Month provides a crucial opportunity to address these disparities by raising awareness about prevalent health issues and promoting access to healthcare resources in rural areas.

One of the key benefits of Public Health Awareness Month in rural areas is its role in increasing health literacy and empowering residents to make informed decisions about their health. By providing information about preventive measures, early detection of diseases, and healthy lifestyle choices, public health initiatives during this month can help rural residents take proactive steps to improve their well-being. This education is especially vital in rural areas where healthcare providers may be scarce, and individuals may have limited access to medical expertise.


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TDH Measels Alert

The Tennessee Department of Health is issuing an urgent alert regarding a recent surge in measles cases, both domestically and globally, necessitating heightened awareness and proactive measures. Regrettably, many instances of measles infections have gone undetected within healthcare and community settings, resulting in prolonged exposure periods and sustained disease transmission. It is imperative for clinicians to promptly identify suspected cases of measles, institute isolation protocols swiftly, and notify public health authorities by reporting any suspected cases to the Tennessee Department of Health at 615-741-7247.

Moreover, the Tennessee Department of Health offers measles testing services, available upon prior consultation and approval from the Vaccine Preventable Diseases team. Attached resources include the Tennessee Health Alert Network (TNHAN) measles notification, Project Firstline AAP's Think Measles Info Sheet, and the recent CDC Health Advisory on measles. TNHAN Members are reminded to keep their contact profile information updated to ensure effective communication channels. This collaborative effort aims to curb the spread of measles and safeguard public health within Tennessee and beyond. An Archive of TNHAN notifications sent to licensed medical professionals can be found, here.

Mental Health, Let's Talk About It

Navigating the winter months with mental health disorders can be particularly challenging due to factors such as reduced sunlight, colder temperatures, and the holiday season. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression associated with changes in seasons, often intensifies during winter. To mitigate its effects, individuals can explore light therapy, spending time outdoors during daylight hours, and incorporating light-enhancing activities into their daily routines. Additionally, maintaining a consistent sleep schedule is crucial for stabilizing mood and energy levels, as disruptions to sleep patterns can exacerbate symptoms of various mental health disorders.

The winter season can contribute to social isolation, which is especially detrimental to individuals with mental health disorders. Efforts to stay connected with loved ones and engage in social activities, even if they are virtual, can provide a crucial support system. Community involvement and participation in group activities can foster a sense of belonging, reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation that often intensify during the winter months.

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National Flu Vaccine Awareness Month: Vaccine Hesitancy in Rural Areas

Vaccine hesitancy in rural areas often stems from a combination of factors, including distrust in healthcare systems, concerns about vaccine safety, and the influence of tight-knit community networks. National Flu Vaccine Awareness Week provides an opportunity to engage local leaders, community influencers, and healthcare providers in initiating conversations about the importance of vaccination. By fostering open and transparent communication, public health campaigns can work towards dispelling myths and addressing specific concerns that contribute to hesitancy, ultimately building trust and encouraging higher vaccine uptake.

In addition to communication strategies, improving access to flu vaccines in rural areas is crucial. National Flu Vaccine Awareness Week can serve as a catalyst for organizing mobile vaccination clinics, partnering with local pharmacies, and collaborating with community organizations to ensure that vaccines are readily available. By making vaccination convenient and addressing logistical barriers, public health efforts can make significant strides in overcoming hesitancy and increasing flu vaccine coverage in rural communities.

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Tennessee Vaccines for Children Program (VFC)

Tennessee public school students are required to turn in the state department of health immunization certificate before returning to the classroom. The list of required vaccinations are here. VFC helps families of children who may not otherwise have access to vaccines by providing free vaccines to doctors who serve them. 

Who Is Eligible for the VFC Program?

Children ages 18 years or younger who meet at least one of the following requirements:

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Come See Us June 24th at a Community Outreach Event in Chattanooga!

Come see us at this Community Outreach Event on June 24th, 11:00 am - 2:00 pm at Resurrected Reformed Baptist Church located at 2230 E 18th St, Chattanooga, TN.

TennCare re-enrollment can be complicated and overwhelming - we'll be there to help you renew, apply for, and keep TennCare, and we will have a Spanish-speaking translation available!

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Frequently Asked Questions: CMS Waivers, Flexibilities, and the End of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provides answers to general and program-specific inquiries including Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and private insurance in an informative publication available here.

In-Person TennCare Assistance Every Friday in May and June

Rural Health Association is ready to assist patients in keeping their TennCare Coverage! Trained assisters will be at Saint Louise Clinic in Murfreesboro each Friday in May and June from 9am - 1pm CT to help individuals determine if they are still eligible for TennCare and provide other helpful information. Can’t attend the event? Call 866-675-7092 or click here to schedule an appointment with a trained assister.

The address for Saint Louise Clinic is 1020 N Highland Ave A, Murfreesboro, TN 37130.

TennCare Re-Enrollment Event in Anderson County

Do you have TennCare or serve those who do? Mandatory re-enrollment of TennCare, Tennessee's state Medicaid program, has started, and we are here to help! We are partnering with Anderson County and Clinton City Schools to participate in their Family Resource Fair!

Join us to if you are in need of help with re-enrollment on May 11th, from 3:00pm-6:00pm at the Clinton Community Center, 101 S. Hicks St., Clinton, TN 37716

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RHA Spring Regional Events

Join us this spring! 

Regional events are an opportunity to learn more about health issues affecting your community, such as substance use disorder, maternal health, and more. Lunch will be provided to in-person attendees.

A Town Hall, moderated by Jacy Warrell, RHA's CEO, will be available from 2:00-3:00pm. 

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2022 Annual Report

RHA is delighted to share a summary of our member events and  programs for 2022. Thank you to our members, staff, funders, and many community partners for your support the past year!

Click here to view the online report
Click here to download a PDF of the report

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April RHC and FQHC Resource Updates

National Health Service Corps New Site Application Webinar Recording Now Available! Click here

The 2022 NHSC New Site Application Cycle is open and accepting applications through Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. E.T.
Have a question? Application help is available!
April 14, 2-4 p.m. ET: NHSC New Site Application Q&A Session #1
April 27, 12-2 p.m. ET: NHSC New Site Application Q&A Session #2


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Culturally Meaningful Storytelling as a Strategy for Building Trust & Promoting COVID-19 Vaccination & Mitigation Efforts

Join us Wednesday, December 7th for our free COVID-19 webinar! Vaccines and boosters are our best defense against serious illness from COVID-19. Currently, many people across the country remain unvaccinated or have not received booster shots for COVID-19.
 

In rural Appalachia, high numbers of chronic disease, along with an aging population contribute to the unvaccinated or insufficiently vaccinated having a higher risk of severe complications or death from a COVID-19 infection.

Click here to register for this event.

TennCare Tri-Star Campaign

TennCare is beginning a Tri Star Campaign to test the member addresses they  have on file. THIS WILL NOT AFFECT ANYONE’S COVERAGE. As they continue to prepare for the public health emergency unwinding (HHS Secretary Beccera renewed the PHE on 10/13/22), they want to make sure the addresses that TennCare has are accurate. Over the next two months, TennCare will send out a letter to each household. They will be asking people to be on the lookout for the letter and to notify us if they don’t receive a letter in the next two months. Additionally, TennCare will be conducting research on mail that is returned without a forwarding address.

FAQS

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COVID-19 Webinar with TDH Epidemiologist

Conference and holiday season is upon us. If you have COVID-19 questions or want updates, then this webinar is for you!

Learning Objectives:
  • Describe the current disease landscape of COVID-19 in Tennessee
  • Deploy proactive strategies for mitigating COVID-19 risk
  • Use evidence-based tools to make informed health decisions for you, your family, and your patients

You don't want to miss this event, register here!

Free COVID-19 Therapeutics Now Available!

Free COVID-19 Therapeutics Now Available!

All CMS-certified RHCs may now enroll in the HRSA RHC COVID-19 Therapeutics Program to receive a direct supply of free COVID-19 Antivirals! For more information click here.

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Younger Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccination Update

The following statement is from STLT Policy & Public Health Partnerships in regards to under 5 year old vaccinations:

On Saturday, June 18th, CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H., endorsed the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation to expand COVID-19 vaccination to children younger than 5 years of age. This decision now universally recommends COVID-19 vaccination for everyone 6 months and older, paving the way for about 20 million children in this age group to get vaccinated and allowing providers to begin vaccinating with either the Moderna or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as soon as possible.

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CDC releases "Rural Considerations for Vaccine Confidence and Uptake Strategies"

CDC releases "Rural Considerations for Vaccine Confidence and Uptake Strategies"

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released another COVID-related rural resource that may be of interest. A “Rural Considerations” addendum was recently added to its field guide for conducting a Rapid Community Assessment (RCA). An RCA is a process for quickly collecting community insights about a public health issue in order to inform program design. The assessment involves reviewing existing data and conducting community-based interviews, listening sessions, observations, social listening, and surveys. In addition to the rural considerations addendum, the

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Updated K-12 Quarantine and Isolation Guidance

The following information was an update made by the CDC on January 6, 2022: The CDC has updated guidance for K-12 schools to align with the updated quarantine and isolation guidance.

Quarantine is a strategy used to prevent transmission of COVID-19 by keeping people who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 apart from others. Isolation is used to separate people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 from those without COVID-19.

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