Rural and Native American Health media for your summer downtime
Working towards health equity for rural, tribal, and underserved communities is a complex and difficult undertaking. One crucial step towards achieving this longstanding mission is better understanding the issues faced by such communities and hearing first-hand perspectives from those living and/or witnessing these deep-rooted health injustices. The challenges experienced by healthcare practitioners and patients can be unglamorous and bleak, more often than not preventing their exposure in popular media. However, the books, movies, and podcasts highlighted below are excellent tools to broadening one’s view on the state of healthcare in rural American and among American Indian/Alaska Native communities.
The Country Doctor Revisited: A Twenty-First Century Reader, compiled by Therese Zink
The Country Doctor Revisited is a moving collection of short stories, poems, and essays by healthcare professionals practicing medicine in rural settings. It reveals the diverse communities that makeup rural America and the providers working there. The complexities surrounding patient-provider relationships, use of new technologies, and resource availability are explored, along with the challenges and joys unique to rural medicine.
Words, Wounds, Chasms: Native American Health Care Encounters, by Nancy Lande
“Words, Wounds, Chasms” is an excellent read for anyone wishing to address the health inequalities faced by Native Americans. The book’s author, Nancy Lande, reflects on the communication issues between doctors and patients at health clinics on Montana reservations. Cultural and social barriers that lead to failings in patient care and the demeaning nature of western medical language towards indigenous patients are explored. This book functions as both an academic piece on linguistics and as a well-written guide for improving patient-doctor communication between cultures.
Talk to Your Doctor: Stories of the Rural Physician in Newfoundland & Labrador
Watch “Talk to Your Doctor” for free on YouTube
“Talk To Your Doctor” is based in Newfoundland and Labrador, an eastern Canadian province boasting stunning coastal scenery. Through interviews with a wide-range of physicians across the province, the joys and difficulties of practicing rural health are discussed with honesty and personal insight. This documentary was created by two 4th year medical school students, hoping to encourage conversation regarding rural healthcare practitioner retention and the nature surrounding their work.
This 2018 documentary is an emotional portrayal of the experiences of three healthcare providers staffing rural safety clinics in northern New Mexico. It addresses the role of primary care in treating opioid addiction and the importance of patient-provider relationships in underserved settings. The film exposes desperate circumstances being met with the determination of the healthcare practitioners and the incredible resilience of the community they serve.
Don’t Get Sick After June: American Indian Healthcare
Watch options available here
This documentary depicts the failings of the US government in upholding sufficient healthcare service for Native Americans, a guaranteed right under treaty for land exchanged. The film also addresses the historical basis for federally provided healthcare and past shortcomings. Despite being made 11 years ago, the unaddressed health issues faced by tribal communities described in the film still stand true today.
AHA Rural Health Pathways to Recovery Podcast Series
Take a listen to their SoundCloud recordings
The American Hospital Association offers this podcast via the Pathways to Recovery group. This podcast invites relevant speakers to discuss important topics regarding rural health. Participants reflect on issues in their communities and specific programs they are involved in that seek to address them. From maternal care to mental health, important discussions are held meant to inspire awareness and demonstrate the incredible resilience of rural communities.
The Rural Health Voice
Listen to the Rural Health Voice
A more engaging alternative to the AHA’s podcast is “The Rural Health Voice” hosted by Beth O’Connor. Under the Virginia Rural Health Association, this podcast invites leaders at the local, state, and national levels to discuss broad rural health issues and offer their perspectives. O’Connor addresses topics of racism, LGBTQ+ treatment, food sovereignty, and many other pressing health matters in rural settings.
National Native Network Podcast Series
Listen to the National Native Network Podcast
This podcast series invites tribal public health personnel to discuss topics on cancer treatment and prevention of tobacco usage in Native communities. This series offers a platform to raise awareness of health disparities in Native communities, as well as offer advice for improving them. These podcasts, as well as other rural health podcasts, can be accessed on Spotify, stitcher, and other podcast platforms.