W. G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center - Salisbury, NC
Salisbury Rural Health Program
The Salisbury (N.C.) VA Medical Center’s Rural Health team achieved a fantastic feat in 2010: they traveled more than 12,000 miles in the last
eight months of the year, completing more than 60 outreach events, with at least one event in each of the 24 counties in their catchment area, and multiple events in 15 of those counties.
The team educated more than 2,000 rural veterans and families on health care issues, while simultaneously delivering in excess of 1,400 applications for enrollment into the VA health care system. The team, whose members include administrative staff, pharmacists, nurses and a social worker, conducted 21 educational sessions, training more than 580 veterans and family members on topics such as diabetes, COPD, hypertension and depression. They sought out a variety of venues, including health fairs, churches, town halls, parades, festivals, county fairs, job fairs and sporting events in an attempt to reach as many veterans as possible. They often worked weekends, traveling to events in 40 cities and towns.
So far in 2011, the Rural Health team has completed more than 90 events in 19 counties. With events scheduled in all but one of the remaining counties, they are well on their way to surpassing last years outreach efforts and ensuring rural veterans receive the benefits they have earned. “We are VA, we’re Rural Health, and we’re here for the veterans and the communities they live in,” said Edwina Gray-Wright, program manager.