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HEALTH celebrates National Rural Health Day with new report on health strengths and challenges in rural RI

PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) today released its new 2012 report, "The Health of Rhode Island Non-Metropolitan Communities," and presented eight Rural Health Champion Awards during an event celebrating National Rural Health Day at the North Scituate Community House.

"This year's data confirms what we know to be true about rural communities — they are resilient places where people come together to take care of one another," said Michael Fine, MD, director of HEALTH. "But rural communities continue to face their own unique healthcare challenges, such as access to care through primary care providers."

HEALTH's report highlights updated data on diversity, poverty levels and health insurance rates in rural communities, as well as usage rates of drugs, alcohol and tobacco. New data, included for the first time this year, looks at bullying rates in non-metropolitan communities.

In addition to releasing its report, HEALTH also honored eight "rural health champions" during the event. They include Kobad Malesra, DDS; Andrea Marcotte, MSN, FNP, GNP; Janet McLinden, MEd, SAC; Mary Mumford-Haley, CNM, RNP; Shawna Zincone, BS; Robert D. Maltz, MD, FAAP; S. Scott Mueller, MSW; and Susan Jacobsen, MA, LMHC.

Rhode Island's non-metropolitan communities include Burrillville, Foster, Glocester, Scituate, Coventry, West Greenwich, Charlestown, Exeter, Hopkinton, New Shoreham, Richmond, Westerly, Jamestown, Little Compton, Portsmouth and Tiverton. To access the 2012 report, visit

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