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REF NO.: 211

SUBJECT: Harris Centre lecture to explore rural health

DATE: June 12,2007

In rural Newfoundland and Labrador, access to the services of a physician can be problematic. As well, many physicians in rural areas are more likely to have received medical training outside of Canada and to have not yet met Canadian licensing standards. In addition, once licensed, a rural physician is more likely to move to another province. The turn-over of physicians means that residents in rural areas may have several different doctors during their lifetime.
Are Rural Areas Receiving Second-Class Health Care? is the subject of a public lecture at Memorial University on Wednesday, June 20. The lecture will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Inco Innovation Centre on the university campus. Parking and admission are free, and a reception will follow.
Some questions that will be raised at the lecture include: Does high turnover mean that residents of rural areas receive inferior health care, or just different health care? What implications does this difference have to the quality of life of rural areas and to their economic sustainability?
The lecture will also examine what can be done to improve rural practice and rural health care. Are Canadian medical schools doing enough to encourage students to choose rural practice? What can provincial governments do to ensure that rural areas are adequately serviced by physicians? Is the recruiting of immigrant physicians the answer? Does the regionalization of health-care boards allow for the sharing of medical services, or does it simply centralize services in major centres? And, finally, what can communities and citizens do to entice and retain physicians?
The lecture will feature Dr. Rick Audas, a professor of health statistics and economics in Memorial University’s Faculty of Medicine. He will be accompanied by three panelists: Fay Matthews, chief operating officer for Rural Avalon with Eastern Health; Dr. James Rourke, dean of Medicine at Memorial University; and Dr. Joseph Tumilty, the newly-elected president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association.
The public is invited to hear these presenters and to offer their opinions during the ensuing discussion period.

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For more information: Michael Clair, associate director (Public Policy), Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development, (709) 737-7963 or mclair@mun.ca.

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