Rural Connections Blog
When President Biden and US Department of Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announced the Rural Partners Network (RPN) in April 2022, it was unlikely they could have predicted how quickly that network would become a necessary lifeline to the communities it serves.
RPN was established to improve how the federal government serves rural communities that traditionally face challenges accessing government programs and resources. Through RPN, USDA has placed staff on the ground in 36 communities across the country to be the front door to federal resources.
Women Veterans Health Reengagement Training (heaRT): Educating Women Veterans on the VA Health Care Services
One in four women Veterans who use Veterans Health Administration (VA) care live in rural areas. Rural women Veterans have unique health care needs and are more likely to use VA care compared to their urban peers. However, only 8 percent of enrolled rural Veterans are women.
The VA Women’s Health Reengagement Training (heaRT) Team is on a mission to change that statistic by offering a training program that discusses how to apply for and use VA health care so that women Veterans can access the health care.
Building Partnerships to Support Mental Health Needs in Diverse Rural Schools: The National Center for Rural School Mental Health
Prior to the pandemic, 1 in 5 school-age youth experienced serious mental health issues. During the pandemic, these numbers grew, with emergency room visits for mental health issues increasing by 24 percent among children and 31 percent among adolescents. Given this rise in mental health problems, the U.S. Surgeon General released an advisory in December 2021, outlining ways to prevent and treat the mental health challenges facing youth. School-based prevention and intervention supports are part of this solution, but in rural schools, geographic isolation and limited resources make it difficult to access these services. The U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences-funded National Center for Rural School Mental Health (NCRSMH) is working to address this challenge.
Like many communities across the country, Ben Hill County is rich in history. The county in south central Georgia is home to one municipality, Fitzgerald. In 1895, Union Army Pension Attorney and newspaper editor Philander H. Fitzgerald founded Fitzgerald as a reconciliation community for Civil War veterans. Ben Hill County is home to several places listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has nine recreational parks.
The RCCs partner with state educational agencies (SEAs) to provide high-impact, customized, and responsive support to increase student achievement. The National Comprehensive Center develops and delivers high-quality universal capacity-building products and services addressing pressing national education needs. The Regional and National Centers are administered by the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education. The Region 15 Comprehensive Center (R15CC)supports Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah.