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Rural health program changing name

Beginning March 1, the Institute for Rural Health Development & Research at WKU will be known as the Institute for Rural Health.

In the next several months, the Institute for Rural Health (IRH) will begin a branding campaign to bring awareness to services offered and possible collaborations; including a new website launch and marketing materials.

Since 2001, the IRH has been offering many services to the 10-county Barren River Area Development District (BRADD) and will continue to serve the people of those areas and beyond in the future. The IRH has two Mobile Units: the Mobile Health and Wellness Unit and the Mobile Dental Unit.

Services provided by the Mobile Health and Wellness Unit and Registered Nurse Chandra Ellis-Griffith include health care screenings for cholesterol, diabetes, blood pressure and bone density; immunization program; Body Mass Index (BMI) screenings; and health education in the areas of heart health, diabetes prevention and control and hypertension.

Services provided through the Mobile Dental Health Unit by Daniel Carter, DMD, and Bonny Petty, RDH, include the dental sealant program for second-grade and seventh-grade students, the fluoride varnish program for Head Start programs in the Warren County area, and the comprehensive dental program offered to various community agencies including Housing Authority of Bowling Green and other communities in the 27-county service region.

Since 2001, the mobile units have traveled more than 65,000 miles. More than 38,000 patients have been seen in 25 counties of the Commonwealth. In 2011-12 alone, the Mobile Health and Wellness Unit and the Mobile Dental Unit visited more than 75 locations in the service area and served more than 3,000 patients

In addition to providing health and dental, the staff at IRH work daily on research projects, community outreach projects and grant opportunities. As a major service arm of WKU’s College of Health and Human Services, the IRH provides the platform for educating future health professionals in rural areas through its two mobile units. The IRH offers clinical experiences and internship opportunities for Public Health, Dental Hygiene, Nursing, Biology, Women’s Studies, Communication Disorders and Social Work programs, as well as other disciplines at WKU.

Contact: Stacey Forsythe, (270) 745-6948; or Matt Hunt, (270) 745-4138.

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