Rural Health Week highlights Campbell’s commitment to underserved communities

Campbell University will celebrate its inaugural Rural Health Week Nov. 13-16. The week is inspired by National Rural Health Day, which takes place Nov. 16.

“Our Rural Health Week celebration is an acknowledgement that Campbell’s roots are rural and our central commitment is to our neighbors,” said David Tillman, chairman of Campbell’s public health department. “We are inspired by the work being done by our faculty, students and community partners to expand access to high-quality health care in rural places.”

Campbell has an ongoing commitment to rural communities. Earlier this year, the University received a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to fund an 18-month national exploration — the Rural Philanthropic Analysis. The project is designed to better understand rural places and funding practices that are leading the way towards health improvement in rural regions across the country.

Rural Health Week will kick off Nov. 13 with health science students penning thank you postcards to preceptor partners in rural areas.

Campbell will celebrate the opening of its new Health Center in Dunn with a dedication ceremony at 2 p.m. on Nov. 14. The Dunn location is the second of its kind. The first Health Center is housed on campus. Both locations serve as outpatient physical practices that serve the Harnett County community.

Master’s of public health students will make their practicum presentations from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 15. Students have been working with a number of local agencies including the N.C. Farmworkers Project, Harnett County Department of Aging, Johnston County Health Department and On Target Preparedness.

The week will culminate with a National Rural Health Day Celebration Lunch on Nov. 16. During the event, two special “Culture of Health” awards will be presented to recognize outstanding leaders in rural health.

Bill Pully, (’79 Campbell Law) former president of the North Carolina Hospital Association, and Tom Butler, owner of Butler Farms in Lillington will be honored for making a tangible difference in the area of rural healthcare delivery, economic development and the liveability of rural communities.

Pully will receive the Rural Health Advocacy Award. As senior counsel with Nexsen Pruet’s Health Care Group, his practice focuses on helping health care organization adjust to rapid changes occurring in the field. During his three-decade tenure with the N.C. Hospital Association, he advocated and represented all hospital and healthcare-related issues before the General Assembly and state agencies.

Butler, considered a pioneer and innovator in the swine industry, will receive the Culture of Health Award. His farm traps methane gas, a byproduct of hog waste, in order to create renewable energy and eliminate harmful pollution.

Tillman said although Butler works outside the healthcare system, he is making rural communities “safer, cleaner and healthier places to live and work.”

“As we recognize these innovations and accomplishments, we also use these week to highlight the remaining challenges and the opportunities on the horizon,” he said.