Regional group to meet

Healthcare is the topic of a meeting planned by a regional economic development group whose aim is south-central Missouri.

The Southern Ozarks Alliance for Rural Development, (SOAR Inc.), a 10-county not-for-profit organization, will host a meeting 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 19, at the Ferguson building at 127 E. Main St., Willow Springs.

Resident and SOAR member Wendell Bailey said it will cover significant issues surrounding rural healthcare.

All are invited to attend, with no reservation required. Doors open at 5 p.m.

Speakers will include Dr. Dalen Duitsman, director of the Ozark Public Health Institute that is affiliated with Missouri State University, and Benjamin Harvey, chief of the Office of Primary Care and Rural Health for Missouri.  Bailey said the two will interact with the SOAR committee and exchange information concerning health issues in the 10 SOAR counties that include Howell, Oregon, Shannon, Texas, Douglas, Ozark, Wright, Reynolds, Carter and Wayne. 

Mary Sheid, West Plains, former president of SOAR, said, “Healthcare is the one subject that is important to every citizen. We are quite privileged to have this dialogue with these individuals as they share their extensive knowledge and expertise in the complex arena of rural health care.”

Reynolds County Presiding Commissioner Joe Loyd, president of the SOAR board, said, “We expect a significant attendance, not only of SOAR board members from the 31 communities that we represent, but also people in the healthcare professions who face many challenges in the delivery of quality care in rural communities. Interested members of the public are welcome as well.”

Scott Dill, vice president and president-elect of SOAR, is superintendent of the Houston School District in Texas County.

Dill said, “The Houston school system makes full use of rural healthcare programs that assist our students and our students’ families. It is important for all of us to be strong, well-informed advocates for healthcare.”

For more information call 417-252-0230.

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