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Rural Health

The Essential Public Health Services describe the public health activities that should be undertaken in all communities. The Core Public Health Functions Steering Committee developed the framework for the Essential Services in 1994. This steering committee included representatives from US Public Health Service agencies and other major public health organizations. The Essential Services provide a working definition of public health and a guiding framework for the responsibilities of local public health systems.

  1. Monitor health status to identify and solve community health problems.

  2. Diagnose and investigate health problems and health hazards in the community.

  3. Inform, educate, and empower people about health issues.

  4. Mobilize community partnerships and action to identify and solve health problems.

  5. Develop policies and plans that support individual and community health efforts.

  6. Enforce laws and regulations that protect health and ensure safety.

  7. Link needed personal health services and assure the provision of health care when otherwise unavailable.

  8. Assure competent health care workforce.

  9. Evaluate effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of personal and population-based health services.

  10. Research for new insights and innovative solutions to health problems.

There are several steps that public health officials take to work toward a more robust and inclusive public health system that reaches all vulnerable populations in Southeast Utah. Here are a few things that we work towards:

  1. Collaborate with community organizations: Public health officials partner with community organizations that serve vulnerable populations in rural areas. These organizations have a better understanding of the specific needs and challenges faced by their communities, and provide valuable insights and feedback to public health officials. By working together, public health officials and community organizations develop more effective strategies to reach vulnerable populations.

  2. Increase access to healthcare services: One of the biggest challenges in rural areas is a lack of access to healthcare services based on the large geography area we serve (over 18,000 square miles). Public health officials work to increase access by establishing mobile clinics, telehealth programs, and other innovative solutions. They also work with healthcare providers to improve the quality and availability of services in rural areas.

  3. Address social determinants of health: Social determinants of health, such as poverty, lack of education, and limited access to healthy food, can have a significant impact on health outcomes. Public health officials work to address these factors by partnering with community organizations to provide resources and support. For example, we work with schools to provide nutrition education programs.

  4. Use data to guide decision-making: Public health officials use data to identify areas with the greatest need and develop targeted interventions. By analyzing data on health outcomes, healthcare utilization, and social determinants of health, we identify gaps in the system and develop strategies to address them.

Emergency preparedness is a critical component of ensuring that vulnerable populations in Southeast Utah are reached in times of crisis. Public health officials work to develop emergency preparedness plans that are specifically tailored to the needs of our rural Southeast Utah communities, and that consider the unique challenges and limitations of these areas.

For example, in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency, public health officials work with local healthcare providers to establish emergency shelters and mobile clinics in rural areas. We also work with community organizations to develop evacuation plans and ensure that vulnerable populations can access transportation and other necessary resources.

In addition, public health officials work to educate the public on emergency preparedness and encourage individuals to take steps to prepare for emergencies. This includes providing information on how to create an emergency kit, develop a family emergency plan, and stay informed about emergency alerts and warnings.

Additional methods Public Health Emergency Preparedness use:

  1. We established a healthcare coalition that identifies risks and needs, assessed regional health care resources, prioritizes resource gaps and mitigation strategies, assesses community planning for children, pregnant women, seniors, individuals with access and function needs, and others with unique abilities. We also assess and identify regulatory compliance requirements.

  2. Our team develops healthcare preparedness plans.

  3. We train and prepare the healthcare and medical workforce through promoting role-appropriate national incident management system (NIMS) implementation, educating and training on identified preparedness and response gaps, planning, and conducting coordinated exercises with healthcare coalition members and other response organizations, aligning exercises with federal standards and facility regulatory and accreditation requirements, evaluating exercises and responses to emergencies.

  4. Ensure that preparedness is sustainable by promoting the value of health and readiness, engaging health care executives, engaging citizens, engaging community members, and promoting sustainability of healthcare coalitions.

By investing in emergency preparedness, public health officials can help ensure that vulnerable populations in rural Utah are able to access the care and resources they need in times of crisis, and that they are able to recover more quickly and effectively from emergencies.

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