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Diverse health care needs the focus of forum

A group of doctors, scholars and policy makers is meeting today to discuss how they can improve rural health care access in Arizona. From Phoenix, KJZZ’s Weston Phippen reports.

 WESTON PHIPPEN: The border, desert, mountain communities and remote Native American reservations can make basic things like regular checkups difficult. The 2012 Rural and Public Health Policy Forum looks at how to connect communities to health care.  University of Arizona professor Neil MacKinnon, who is also the director of the Center for Rural Health, says because of Arizona’s diversity, delivering care to communities can range from the local doctor hopping into a truck to set a broken leg, to newer technology, like telemedicine.

 NEIL MACKINNON: The way you approach health care in Nogales is quite different than, say, Second Mesa of the Hopi Navajo area. Again, that certainly makes it challenging and at the same time kind of exciting for us to work in this area.

 WESTON PHIPPEN: MacKinnon says Arizona has the second-highest rural childhood poverty rate in the nation, which also makes access to affordable health care in these communities especially difficult.