18th annual Rural Health Conference sheds light on health care challenges in rural areas

18th annual Rural Health Conference sheds light on health care challenges in rural areas

TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - Women in rural communities can face more challenges than most when it comes to getting quality healthcare.

It's especially hard for those who Mercedes Morales-Alemon works with most often.

"Fear of deportation, not being aware of where services are or having to travel long ways for services," Morales-Alemon said.

She says Latina women, especially those here illegally in Alabama, face more obstacles than a language barrier.

That's just one of the issues according to people attending 18th annual Rural Health Conference sponsored by the University of Alabama's College of Community Health Science.

"Rural women and women living in rural areas are often unseen," said Dr. Lea Yerby.

Yerby, a University of Alabama professor and one of the organizers, hopes the conference helps people find more ways to help rural women get to a doctor's office whether they have some insurance or none.

"Somebody who maybe works at a hospital or directs a clinic sits down with a non-profit or community worker that's trying to figure out how to get someone to the doctor's office," Yerby went on to say.

She also believes people are more engaged about health care since the passage of the Affordable Care Act and recent discussions about replacing it.

Ten years ago, if you had asked someone about health insurance or who was insured and who wasn't, I don't think the majority of American's would have a response to that," Yerby explained.

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