The University of Wisconsin-Platteville hosted the third Tri-State Regional Health Care Summit on April 14, welcoming more than 70 major stakeholders in the region to discuss challenges and needs in rural health care. Co-sponsored by Scenic Rivers Wisconsin Area Health Education Center, the event was the third summit hosted by UW-Platteville in the past six years.
“It seems like we have come a long way since that first summit that we held here in November 2017,” said Dr. Wayne Weber, interim provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs. “That resulted in some incredible partnerships and exciting program directions.”
Weber noted the new partnership with UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health to create a physician assistant program at UW-Platteville – launching this summer – as well as the new, unique 3+1 dual degree program with UW Oshkosh, providing UW-Platteville students a pathway to earn a bachelor’s in nursing.
“These innovative partnerships are incredibly important for developing rural health care professionals, because the data are clear – those students who grow up in, are educated in and trained in rural areas, tend to practice in rural areas,” said Weber. “That is an opportunity for our students, the university, healthcare providers and the tri-state region, because through these collaborations and providing these opportunities, we can have a transformative impact on this region for generations to come.”
Keynote speaker Dr. Lisa Dodson, founding dean of the Medical College of Wisconsin-Central Wisconsin, kicked off the day’s conversations detailing issues affecting access to rural health care, including infrastructure, high-speed internet access, recruiting and retaining providers, addressing health inequities, policies and funding.
Summit participants – which included practitioners, health care administrators, health departments, community health advocates, education partners, alumni, and faculty and students – discussed their own challenges and needs, as well as potential for partnerships and collaborative solutions.
“I love events like this. They are great for the community,” said Dr. Rich Dhyanchand, professor of biology at UW-Platteville and an organizer of the event. “The diversity of health care interests present made for some very engaging and spirited conversation, but everyone had the shared goal of improving health care in the region. I hope that the attendees walked away with new information, perspectives, connections and some tangible next steps.”
For more information about health care programs at UW-Platteville, visit www.uwplatt.edu/healthcare.