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National Rural Health Day (NRHD) is recognized on the third Thursday of November. Yesterday, Colorado Governor Jared Polis joined President Joe Biden in signing a proclamation recognizing the efforts made by county public health offices, rural hospitals such as Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center and clinics, emergency medical services, mental health offices, home health care, assisted living centers and all others who work hard day in — day out to provide health services for those of us who make our homes and livelihoods in rural America.

There has probably never been another set of years where their selfless efforts have been more needed, than during the 2020 and 2021 years of the COVID-19 pandemic, on top of the dozens of other health programs they manage with selfless, community-minded spirit.

Governor’s Proclamation declaring Thursday, Nov. 18 as Rural Health Day

The purpose of the day, out of the tireless days they serve us, is to celebrate and promote the “Power of Rural,”⁠ bringing much-needed attention to the ongoing efforts to⁠ communicate, educate, collaborate, and innovate to improve⁠ the health of an estimated 57 million people across America who call rural and⁠ frontier areas home.⁠

The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) sets aside the third Thursday of every November to celebrate National Rural Health Day (NRHD).  Over the past decade, NRHD has transformed a day-long event⁠ into a sustainable movement, as evidenced by engaging a broad⁠ national audience of policymakers, program funders, partners,⁠ and practitioner

NRHD showcases the efforts of rural healthcare providers, State Offices of Rural Health, and other rural stakeholders to address the unique healthcare challenges that rural citizens face today and into the future.

Here in Chaffee County, the public owes a debt of gratitude for the work of these organizations and individuals of Chaffee County Public Health on a regular basis, caring for and transferring patients, holding hearing clinics, youth dental programs, flu clinics, COVID testing, COVID vaccinations,  and childhood disease vaccination programs. They inspect restaurants to protect us from foodborne diseases, train new mothers in breastfeeding, and care for the elderly at home, so they can stay in their homes and age in dignity.

Much gratitude and kudos to the work done to champion this rural health cause for Chaffee County every day! If you meet one of our rural health professionals over the coming days — saying thank you wouldn’t be out of line!