INDIANAPOLIS —Today is National Rural Health Day, a day to showcase rural communities as wonderful places to live and work, increase awareness of rural health-related issues, and promote the efforts of State Offices of Rural Health and the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health in addressing these issues.In conjunction with the nationwide observance, Governor Pence has proclaimed today as Rural Health Day in Indiana.Indiana’s Rural and Critical Access Hospitals provide care for 1.89 million people. Rural hospitals, which are frequently the economic foundation of their communities, sometimes struggle to overcome financial hurdles that can impair their ability to care for residents.“National Rural Health Day is extremely important in an agriculturally strong state like ours,” said State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H. “The fact is that our rural communities are faced with unique health care challenges, as well as opportunities. That’s why our Office of Rural Health continues to work with local partners to create innovative models of care. In this way, we can help overcome the health disparities that Hoosiers in rural parts of our state may experience.”The State Office of Rural Health within the Indiana State Department of Health strives to reduce health disparities in rural communities by:Serving as a clearinghouse of information and innovative approaches to rural health services delivery.Coordinating state activities related to rural health in order to avoid duplication of efforts and resources.Identifying Federal, State, and nongovernmental rural health programs and providing technical assistance to public and private, nonprofit entities serving rural populations.Strengthening Federal, State, and partnerships in rural health.Promoting recruitment and retention of a competent health care workforce.